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MEMPHIS, Tenn., USA, Jan 29, 2013 - International Paper (NYSE: IP) reported preliminary full-year 2012 net earnings attributable to common shareholders totaling $794 million ($1.80 per share) compared with $1.3 billion ($3.03 per share) in full-year 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the company reported net earnings of $235 million ($0.53 per share) compared with $281 million ($0.65 per share) in the fourth quarter of 2011. Amounts in all periods include special items and non-operating pension expense.

Full-year 2012 Operating Earnings were $1.2 billion ($2.65 per share) compared with $1.4 billion ($3.12 per share) in 2011. Operating Earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $305 million ($0.69 per share) compared with $319 million ($0.73 per share) in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Annual sales totaled $27.8 billion in 2012 compared with $26.0 billion in 2011. Quarterly net sales were $7.1 billion in the fourth quarter compared with $6.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Full-year 2012 business segment operating profits were $2.0 billion compared with $2.2 billion in 2011. Business segment operating profits in the fourth quarter were $528 million compared with $577 million in 2011, both of which included special items.

"Our success capturing merger benefits from the Temple-Inland acquisition contributed to our fourth quarter results and IP's record cash generation from operations in 2012," said John Faraci, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Given our runway levers and ability to execute, we are positioned to deliver a step-change in earnings as we move through 2013."

SEGMENT INFORMATION
The performance of the company's business segments are measured quarter to quarter without variations caused by special items, as management focuses on business segment operating profits excluding those items. Fourth quarter 2012 business segment operating profits and business trends compared with the prior quarter are as follows:

Industrial Packaging operating profits in the fourth quarter of 2012 were $368 million ($336 million including special items) compared with $342 million ($255 million including special items) in the third quarter of 2012. The profit increase in North America was the result of improved pricing, partially offset by higher planned outage-related maintenance expenses and input costs. Profits for the segment also benefited from seasonally higher sales volumes in Europe and an insurance settlement related to the earthquake that occurred in Northern Italy.

Printing Papers operating profits were $147 million (before and after special items) in the fourth quarter of 2012 versus $201 million ($202 million including special items) in the third quarter of 2012. North American operations were impacted by higher planned outage-related maintenance expenses, seasonally lower sales and lower average sales price for paper, particularly in export markets. Europe's results were stronger quarter over quarter mainly from lower planned maintenance expenses.

Consumer Packaging operating profits were $39 million ($41 million including special items) in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with $67 million (before and after special items) in the third quarter of 2012. Earnings were impacted by higher outage-related maintenance expenses and lower average sales price primarily due to mix, along with cost associated with the start-up of the coated paper machine in China.

xpedx, the company's North American distribution business, reported operating profits of $11 million ($4 million including special items) in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with $24 million ($15 million including special items) in the third quarter of 2012, reflecting higher operating expenses in the fourth quarter.

International Paper recorded Ilim joint venture equity earnings of $8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with equity earnings of $33 million in the third quarter of 2012. Fourth quarter results were lower as modestly higher average prices did not offset increases in input costs. In addition, the after-tax impact of favorable foreign exchange gains was $15 million less in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter. The gains in both quarters were due to non-cash adjustments associated with the Ilim joint venture's U.S. dollar denominated debt.

Net corporate expenses, excluding non-operating pension expense, for the 2012 fourth quarter were $15 million compared with $1 million in the third quarter of 2012 and $20 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Effective Tax Rate
The effective tax rate before special items for the fourth quarter of 2012 was 22 percent, compared with an effective tax rate before special items of 31 percent in the third quarter of 2012. The lower rate in the 4th quarter is attributable to the release of a $29 million valuation allowance previously imposed on state income tax attributes which the Company now foresees utilizing. The 2012 full year rate was 29 percent compared with 32 percent for the 2011 full year.

Effects of Special Items
Special items in the fourth quarter of 2012 included pre-tax charges of $21 million ($14 million after taxes) for restructuring and other charges, pre-tax charges of $28 million ($19 million after taxes) for integration costs related to the Temple-Inland acquisition, and a gain of $3 million (before and after taxes) for other items. Also included are a net tax expense of $14 million related to internal restructurings and a tax expense of $5 million to adjust deferred tax assets related to post-retirement prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D reimbursements). Restructuring and other charges included pre-tax charges of $9 million ($6 million after taxes) for debt extinguishment costs, pre-tax charges of $7 million ($4 million after taxes) for costs associated with the restructuring of our xpedx operations, and pre-tax charges of $5 million ($4 million after taxes) for other items.

Special items in the third quarter of 2012 included pre-tax charges of $33 million ($24 million after taxes) for restructuring and other charges, pre-tax charges of $58 million ($34 million after taxes) for integration costs related to the Temple-Inland acquisition, and pre-tax charges of $19 million ($49 million after taxes) for costs associated with the divestiture of three containerboard mills. Restructuring and other charges included pre-tax charges of $13 million ($8 million after taxes) for debt extinguishment costs, pre-tax charges of $8 million ($4 million after taxes) for costs associated with the restructuring of our xpedx operations, pre-tax charges of $16 million ($11 million after taxes) for costs associated with the restructuring of our Packaging business in Europe, and a net pre-tax gain of $4 million (a charge of $1 million after taxes) for other items.

Special items in the fourth quarter of 2011 included a pre-tax charge of $18 million ($13 million after taxes) for restructuring and other charges, a pre-tax gain of $4 million ($3 million after taxes) for an adjustment to the loss on the sale of our Shorewood business, a net tax expense of $22 million and charges of $6 million ($5 million after taxes) for other items. Restructuring and other charges included a pre-tax charge of $14 million ($11 million after taxes) for costs associated with the restructuring of our xpedx operations, pre-tax charges of $12 million ($7 million after taxes) for costs associated with the signing of an agreement to acquire Temple-Inland, and net pre-tax gains of $8 million ($5 million after taxes) for other items. The net tax expense of $22 million included a $24 million expense related to internal restructurings, a $9 million expense for costs associated with our acquisition of a majority interest in Andhra Pradesh Paper Mills Limited, a $13 million benefit related to the release of a deferred tax asset valuation allowance, and $2 million of expense for other items. In addition, a gain of $6 million (before and after taxes) was recorded for interest associated with a tax claim.

Discontinued Operations
Discontinued operations in both the fourth and third quarters of 2012 included the Operating Earnings of Temple-Inland's Building Products business. Also included are pre-tax charges of $13 million ($8 million after taxes) and $2 million ($1 million after taxes) in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2012, respectively, for expenses associated with pursuing the divestiture of this business.

EARNINGS WEBCAST
The company will hold a webcast to review earnings at 9:00 a.m. EST / 8:00 a.m. CST today. All interested parties are invited to listen to the webcast live and view the slides to be presented at the webcast via the company's Internet site at http://www.internationalpaper.com by clicking on the Investors tab and going to the presentations page. A replay of the webcast will also be available beginning approximately two hours after the call. Parties in the U.S. who wish to participate in the webcast via teleconference may dial (877) 316-2541. Those outside the U.S. should dial +1 (706) 679-8242 and ask to be connected to the International Paper fourth-quarter and 2012 earnings call. The conference ID number is 82052223. Participants should call in no later than 8:45 a.m. EST/7:45 a.m. CST. An audio-only replay will be available for four weeks following the call. To access the replay, dial +1 (404) 537-3406 or, within the U.S. only, (855) 859-2056, and when prompted for the conference ID, enter 82052223.

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a global leader in packaging and paper with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. Its businesses include industrial and consumer packaging and uncoated papers, complemented by xpedx, the company's North American distribution company. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., the company employs approximately 68,000 people and is strategically located in more than 24 countries serving customers worldwide. International Paper net sales for 2012 were $28 billion. For more information about International Paper, its products and stewardship efforts, visit internationalpaper.com.
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