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KOPPERS HOLDINGS INC. filed this Form 10-Q on 08/03/2017
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past several years. Accordingly, we have experienced significantly lower sales volumes due to the reduction in aluminum production in parts of the world where the majority of our production facilities are located. In 2017, the aluminum production in the U.S. is expected to be relatively flat due to the reduction of global inventories, modestly improved economic demand, and more rational levels of global aluminum production.

The availability of coal tar, the primary raw material for our CMC business, is linked to levels of metallurgical coke production. As the global steel industry, excluding Asia, has reduced the production of steel using metallurgical coke, the volumes of coal tar have also been reduced. For the past decade, the coal tar distillation industry has operated in an excess capacity mode, which further increased the competition for a limited amount of coal tar in North America. As our CMC business, principally in North America, has consolidated its operating footprint and lowered production levels over the past two years, our raw material needs have been significantly less than historically required and we will continue to evaluate potential opportunities to further lower our overall input costs.

CMC Restructuring Initiatives

We embarked on a plan to restructure our CMC operating footprint that reduced our global number of coal tar distillation facilities from the 11 that existed as of January 1, 2014 to four in total. The remaining facilities are located in regions where we believe we hold key competitive advantages that allow us to better serve our global customers: Stickney, Illinois; Nyborg, Denmark; Mayfield, Australia; and Jiangsu Province, China.

As a result of the reduction in operating capacity at the seven closed or sold coal tar distillation facilities, we have incurred substantial restructuring and impairment costs over the last four years. As a result of these initiatives, we expect additional restructuring and related charges to earnings of between $8 million to $16 million through 2020. The overall expected future cash requirements for the CMC plant closures are estimated to be approximately $40 million through 2020. There may be additional curtailments or closures at our other CMC facilities as part of our efforts to reduce our cost structure and improve capacity utilization in our business.

Through these restructuring initiatives, we are significantly transforming our CMC business model by streamlining the operating footprint and reducing reliance on and exposure to the carbon pitch markets.  We believe that the extensive and ongoing efforts to reduce our fixed cost structure will result in a sustainable improvement in earnings in addition to lower volatility in cash flow.

Seasonality and Effects of Weather on Operations

Our quarterly operating results fluctuate due to a variety of factors that are outside of our control, including inclement weather conditions, which in the past have affected operating results. Operations at some of our facilities have at times been reduced during the winter months. Moreover, demand for some of our products declines during periods of inclement weather. As a result of the foregoing, we anticipate that we may experience material fluctuations in quarterly operating results. Historically, our operating results have been significantly lower in the first and fourth calendar quarters as compared to the second and third calendar quarters.

Results of Operations – Comparison of Three Months Ended June 30, 2017 and 2016

Consolidated Results

Net sales for the three months ended June 30, 2017 and 2016 are summarized by segment in the following table:




Three Months Ended June 30,














Net Change


(Dollars in millions)













Railroad and Utility Products and Services













Performance Chemicals













Carbon Materials and Chemicals


























RUPS net sales decreased by $28.5 million or 17 percent compared to the prior year period. The sales decrease was primarily due to lower sales volumes of crossties, utility products and railroad bridge services. Sales of crossties declined by $23.4 million. The reduction in treated crossties and structure services is attributed to lower spending in the rail industry due to the impact of reduced freight car loadings and rail traffic across both the Class I and commercial markets. In addition, commercial crosstie pricing has been reduced due to an over-supply of crossties in the non-Class I market. Sales of utility products declined by $0.6 million due to reduced demand for structural timber in Australia.

PC net sales increased by $3.4 million or 3 percent compared to the prior year period. The sales increase was due primarily to higher North American sales volumes for some copper-based wood preservatives and additives. Higher sales volumes were driven primarily by favorable market trends in the repair and remodeling markets and existing home sales as well as treated wood dealers stocking and selling treated wood with higher preservative retention levels. These gains