Increased selling prices across all of its businesses as compared to the year-ago quarter were sufficient to offset significantly higher raw materials, energy, chemicals and transportation costs. However, reduced production volumes due to unplanned maintenance outages at Buckeye's Perry, FL wood cellulose mill and lower nonwovens sales were the primary drivers behind a year-over-year reduction in operating income of $7.1 million.
Net sales for the fiscal year grew 7.3% over the prior year to $825.5 million, also a new sales record for the company. Earnings for the fiscal year were $47.1 million after tax compared to $30.1 million after tax in the prior year.
Chairman and CEO John Crowe said, "Fiscal year 2008 was an outstanding year for Buckeye. Building on the momentum from 2007, we achieved a variety of significant performance milestones, including our highest-ever sales revenue, debt below $400 million and EPS up 52% over the prior year. Due to the unprecedented cost escalation we have experienced over the past six months, we have implemented additional price increases and surcharges, which went into effect July 1. While oil and natural gas prices have moderated from recent peaks, we are still facing rising cost trends for energy, raw materials, chemicals and transportation in the July-September quarter compared to the April-June quarter."