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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549 
FORM 10-K
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
 
For the fiscal year ended
 
 
12/31/2019
 
 
or
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
 
For the transition period from to
Commission File No. 1-3157
INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
New York
 
13-0872805
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
6400 Poplar Avenue
Memphis,
Tennessee
(Address of principal executive offices)
38197
(Zip Code)
Registrant's telephone number, including area code:
901
419-9000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Trading symbol(s)
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Shares
IP
New York Stock Exchange
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes ý    No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
Yes ¨    No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ý   No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (section 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ý   No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
 
Accelerated filer
 
Non-accelerated filer
 
Smaller reporting company
 
Emerging growth company
 
 
 
 
If emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13 (a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes     No ý
The aggregate market value of the Company’s outstanding common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price as reported on the New York Stock Exchange, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter (June 30, 2019) was approximately $17,018,195,033.
The number of shares outstanding of the Company’s common stock as of February 14, 2020 was 392,124,684.
Documents incorporated by reference:
Portions of the registrant’s proxy statement filed within 120 days of the close of the registrant’s fiscal year in connection with registrant’s 2020 annual meeting of shareholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.

1

Table of Contents

INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY
INDEX TO ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019
 
PART I.
 
 
 
 
ITEM 1.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ITEM 1A.
ITEM 1B.
ITEM 2.
 
 
 
ITEM 3.
ITEM 4.
 
 
 
PART II.
 
 
 
 
ITEM 5.
ITEM 6.
ITEM 7.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 









Table of Contents

INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY
INDEX TO ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019

ITEM 7A.
ITEM 8.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ITEM 9.
ITEM 9A.
ITEM 9B.
 
 
 
PART III.
 
 
 
 
ITEM 10.
ITEM 11.
ITEM 12.
ITEM 13.
ITEM 14.
 
 
 
PART IV.
 
 
 
 
ITEM 15.
 
ITEM 16.
FORM 10-K SUMMARY
 
 
APPENDIX I
APPENDIX II


Table of Contents

PART I.

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

GENERAL
International Paper Company (the Company or International Paper, which may also be referred to as we or us) is a global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa and Russia. We are a New York corporation, incorporated in 1941 as the successor to the New York corporation of the same name organized in 1898. You can learn more about us by visiting our website at www.internationalpaper.com.
In the United States, at December 31, 2019, the Company operated 27 pulp, paper and packaging mills, 163 converting and packaging plants, 16 recycling plants and three bag facilities. Production facilities at December 31, 2019 in Canada, Europe, North Africa and Latin America included 14 pulp, paper and packaging mills, 44 converting and packaging plants, and two recycling plants. We operate a printing and packaging products distribution business principally through six branches in Asia. At December 31, 2019, we owned or managed approximately 329,000 acres of forestland in Brazil and had, through licenses and forest management agreements, harvesting rights on government-owned forestlands in Russia. Substantially all of our businesses have experienced, and are likely to continue to experience, cycles relating to industry capacity and general economic conditions.
For management and financial reporting purposes, our businesses are separated into three segments: Industrial Packaging; Global Cellulose Fibers; and Printing Papers.
A description of these business segments can be found on pages 25 and 26 of Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. The Company’s equity interests in Ilim S.A. (Ilim) and Graphic Packaging International Partners, LLC (GPIP) are also separate reportable industry segments.
From 2015 through 2019, International Paper’s capital spending approximated $7.1 billion, excluding mergers and acquisitions. These expenditures reflect our continuing efforts to use our capital strategically to improve product quality and environmental performance, as well as lower costs and maintain reliability of operations. Capital spending in 2019 was approximately $1.3 billion and is expected to be approximately $1.0 billion in 2020. You can find more information about capital spending on page 30 of Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
 
Discussions of acquisitions can be found on page 30 of Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
You can find discussions of restructuring charges and other special items on pages 24 and 25 of Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Throughout this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we “incorporate by reference” certain information in parts of other documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC permits us to disclose important information by referring to it in that manner. Please refer to such information. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, along with all other reports and any amendments thereto filed with or furnished to the SEC, are publicly available free of charge on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.internationalpaper.com as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. The information contained on or connected to our website is not incorporated by reference into this Form 10-K and should not be considered part of this or any other report that we filed with or furnished to the SEC.

COMPETITION AND COSTS
The pulp, paper and packaging sectors are large and fragmented, and the areas into which the Company sells its principal products are very competitive. Our products compete with similar products produced by other forest products companies. We also compete, in some instances, with companies in other industries and against substitutes for wood-fiber products.

Many factors influence the Company’s competitive position, including price, cost, product quality and services. You can find more information about the impact of these factors on operating profits on pages 19 through 29 of Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. You can find information about the Company’s manufacturing capacities on page A-4 of Appendix II.

MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION

The Company sells products directly to end users and converters, as well as through agents, resellers and paper distributors.

DESCRIPTION OF PRINCIPAL PRODUCTS

The Company’s principal products are described on pages 25 and 26 of Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

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SALES VOLUMES BY PRODUCT
Sales volumes of major products for 2019, 2018 and 2017 were as follows:
SALES VOLUMES BY PRODUCT (a)
 
In thousands of short tons (except as noted)
2019
2018
2017
Industrial Packaging
 
 
 
Corrugated Packaging (b)
10,454

10,624

10,413

Containerboard
2,909

3,229

3,294

Recycling
2,388

2,282

2,257

Saturated Kraft
174

196

181

Gypsum/Release Kraft
199

227

229

Bleached Kraft
22

31

27

EMEA Packaging (b) (c)
1,538

1,476

1,518

Brazilian Packaging (b)
366

351

357

European Coated Paperboard
417

390

398

Industrial Packaging
18,467

18,806

18,674

Global Cellulose Fibers (in thousands of metric tons) (d)
3,501

3,573

3,708

Printing Papers
 
 
 
U.S. Uncoated Papers
1,799

1,886

1,915

European and Russian Uncoated Papers
1,456

1,440

1,483

Brazilian Uncoated Papers
1,172

1,125

1,167

Indian Uncoated Papers
206

263

253

Printing Papers
4,633

4,714

4,818


(a)
Includes third-party and inter-segment sales and excludes sales of equity investees.
(b)
Volumes for corrugated box sales reflect consumed tons sold. Board sales by these businesses reflect invoiced tons.
(c)
Excludes newsprint sales volumes at the Madrid, Spain mill through Q3 2017.
(d)
Includes North American, European and Brazilian volumes and internal sales to mills.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

The Company operates its primary research and development center in Loveland, Ohio, as well as several other product development facilities, including a technology center in Federal Way, Washington.
We direct research and development activities to short-term, long-term and technical assistance needs of customers and operating divisions, and to process, equipment and product innovations. Activities include product development within the operating divisions; studies on innovation and improvement of pulping, bleaching, chemical recovery, paper making, converting and coating processes; packaging design and materials development; mechanical packaging systems, environmentally sensitive printing inks and reduction of environmental discharges; re-use of raw materials in manufacturing processes; recycling of consumer and packaging paper products; energy conservation; applications of computer controls to manufacturing operations; innovations and improvement of products; and development of various new products. Our development efforts specifically
 
address product safety, as well as the minimization of solid waste. The cost to the Company of its research and development operations was $29 million in 2019, $30 million in 2018 and $28 million in 2017.
We own numerous patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property rights relating to our products and to the processes for their production. We also license intellectual property rights to and from others where advantageous or necessary. Many of the manufacturing processes are among our trade secrets. Some of our products are covered by U.S. and non-U.S. patents and are sold under well known trademarks. We derive a competitive advantage by protecting our trade secrets, patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights, and by using them as required to support our businesses.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

International Paper is subject to extensive federal and state environmental regulation, as well as similar regulations internationally. In addition, new environmental laws or regulations impacting our facilities around the world are routinely passed or proposed. Our continuing objectives include:

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(1) controlling emissions and discharges from our facilities to avoid adverse impacts on the environment, and (2) maintaining compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The Company spent $70 million in 2019 for capital projects to control environmental releases into the air and water, and to assure environmentally sound management and disposal of waste. We expect to spend $80 million in 2020 for environmental capital projects. Capital expenditures for 2021 environmental projects are anticipated to be approximately $85 million. Capital expenditures for 2022 environmental projects are estimated to be $65 million.
The Company has completed capital projects to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Boiler MACT (maximum achievable control technology) regulations that require owners of specified boilers to meet revised air emissions standards for certain substances. Although certain aspects of litigation challenging all or portions of the Boiler MACT regulations remain open, we have not identified any additional Boiler MACT capital project expenditures that might result from resolution of the open issues.
The Company has been named as a potentially responsible party (PRP) in environmental remediation actions under various federal and state laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Many of these proceedings involve the cleanup of hazardous substances at large commercial landfills that received waste from many different sources. While joint and several liability is authorized under CERCLA and equivalent state laws, as a practical matter, liability for CERCLA cleanups is typically allocated among the many PRPs. There are other remediation costs typically associated with the cleanup of hazardous substances at the Company’s current, closed or formerly-owned facilities, and recorded as liabilities on the balance sheet. For additional information regarding certain remediation actions, see Note 14 Commitments and Contingent Liabilities of Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data on pages 65 through 68.

CLIMATE CHANGE

International Paper plays a significant role in responding to the climate change challenge. Our entire business depends upon the sustainability of forests. We transform renewable resources into recyclable products that people depend on every day. This cycle begins with sourcing renewable fiber from responsibly managed forests, and at the end of use our products are recycled into new products at a higher rate than any other base material. We endeavor to continue to lead the international business community in responsible forest stewardship to ensure healthy and productive forest ecosystems for generations to come. Our efforts to advance sustainable forest management and restore
 
forest landscapes are an important lever for mitigating climate change through carbon storage in forests. Furthermore, we use biomass and manufacturing residuals (rather than fossil fuels) to generate a substantial majority of the manufacturing energy at our mills.
In an effort to mitigate the impact of climate change various international, national and sub-national (regional, state and local) governmental actions have been or may be undertaken. Presently, these efforts have not materially impacted International Paper, but such efforts may have a material impact on the Company in the future.
INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS
The Paris Agreement, went into effect in November 2016 and continued international efforts and voluntary commitments toward reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Consistent with this objective, participating countries aim to balance GHG emissions generation and sequestration in the second half of this century or, in effect, achieve net-zero global GHG emissions.
As part of the Paris Agreement, many countries established non-binding emissions reduction targets. For instance, the U.S. made a non-binding commitment to hold GHG emissions 7% below 2005 GHG emissions levels by 2020 and 26% to 28% below by 2025. Other countries in which we operate made similar non-binding commitments. On August 4, 2017, the U.S. filed official notice to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Notwithstanding the notice of withdrawal by the U.S., the Company’s voluntary GHG reductions, which are set out in our annual Global Citizenship report, remain roughly in line with the percentages of the U.S. prior target reductions. It is not clear at this time what, if any, further reductions by the Company might be required by the countries in which we operate. Due to this uncertainty, it is not possible at this time to estimate the potential impacts of these agreements on the Company.
To assist member countries in meeting GHG reduction obligations, the EU operates an Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Currently, we have two sites directly subject to regulation under Phase III of the EU ETS, one in Poland and one in France. Other sites that we operate in the EU experience indirect impacts of the EU ETS through purchased power pricing. Neither the direct nor indirect impacts of the EU ETS have been material to the Company, but they could be material to the Company in the future depending on how the Paris Agreement's non-binding commitments or allocation of and market prices for GHG credits under existing rules evolve over the coming years.


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U.S. EFFORTS, INCLUDING STATE, REGIONAL AND LOCAL MEASURES
The U.S. Congress has not passed GHG legislation. The EPA manages regulations to: (i) control GHGs from mobile sources by adopting transportation fuel efficiency standards; (ii) control GHG emissions from new Electric Generating Units (EGUs); (iii) control emissions from new oil and gas processing operations and (iv) require reporting of GHGs from sources of GHGs greater than 25,000 tons per year.
Several U.S. states, including states in which we operate facilities, have enacted or are considering legal measures to require the reduction of emissions of GHGs by companies and public utilities. California, New York and Virginia have already enacted such programs, although these regulations have not, and are not expected to have a material impact on the Company. We are monitoring proposed programs in other states, however it is unclear what impacts, if any, state-level GHG rules will have on the Company’s operations.
SUMMARY
Regulation of GHGs continues to evolve in various countries in which we do business. While it is likely that there will be increased governmental action regarding GHGs and climate change in the future, it is unclear when such actions will occur and at this time it is not reasonably possible to estimate Company costs of compliance with rules that have not yet been adopted or implemented and may not be adopted or implemented in the future. In addition to possible direct impacts, future legislation and regulation could have indirect impacts on International Paper, such as higher prices for transportation, energy and other inputs, as well as more protracted air permitting processes, causing delays and higher costs to implement capital projects. International Paper has controls and procedures in place to stay informed about developments concerning possible climate change legislation and regulation in the U.S. and in other countries where we operate. We regularly assess whether such legislation or regulation may have a material effect on the Company, its operations or financial condition, and whether we have any related disclosure obligations.
Additional information regarding climate change and International Paper is available in our 2018 Global Citizenship report found on our website at www.internationalpaper.com, though this information is not incorporated by reference into this Form 10-K and should not be considered part of this or any other report that we file with or furnish to the SEC.
EMPLOYEES
As of December 31, 2019, we have approximately 51,000 employees, nearly 33,000 of whom are located in the United States. Of our U.S. employees,
 
approximately 23,000 are hourly, with unions representing approximately 14,000 employees. Approximately 11,000 of this number are represented by the United Steelworkers union (USW).

International Paper, the USW, and several other unions have entered into two master agreements covering various mills and converting facilities. These master agreements cover several specific items, including wages, select benefit programs, successorship, employment security, and health and safety.  Individual facilities continue to have local agreements for other subjects not covered by the master agreements.  If local facility agreements are not successfully negotiated at the time of expiration, under the terms of the master agreements the local contracts will automatically renew with the same terms in effect. The master agreements cover the majority of our union represented mills and converting facilities. In addition, International Paper is party to a master agreement with District Council 2, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, covering additional converting facilities.

INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

Mark S. Sutton, 58, chairman (since January 1, 2015) & chief executive officer (since November 1, 2014). Mr. Sutton previously served as president & chief operating officer from June 1, 2014 to October 31, 2014, senior vice president - industrial packaging from November 2011 to May 31, 2014, senior vice president - printing and communications papers of the Americas from 2010 until 2011, senior vice president - supply chain from 2008 to 2009, vice president - supply chain from 2007 until 2008, and vice president - strategic planning from 2005 until 2007. Mr. Sutton joined International Paper in 1984. Mr. Sutton serves on the board of directors of The Kroger Company. He is a member of The Business Council, serves on the American Forest & Paper Association board of directors, The Business Roundtable board of directors, and the international advisory board of the Moscow School of Management - Skolkovo. He was appointed chairman of the U.S. Russian Business Council. He also serves on the board of directors for Memphis Tomorrow and board of governors for New Memphis Institute. Mr. Sutton has been a director since June 1, 2014.

W. Michael Amick, Jr., 56, senior vice president - paper the Americas since January 1, 2017. Mr. Amick previously served as senior vice president - North American papers & consumer packaging from July 2016 until December 2016, senior vice president - North American papers, pulp & consumer packaging from November 2014 until June 2016, vice president - president, IP India, from August 2012 to October

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2014, and vice president and general manager for the coated paperboard business from 2010 to 2012. Mr. Amick joined International Paper in 1990.

Clay R. Ellis, 49, senior vice president - enterprise operational excellence since December 2019. Mr. Ellis previously served as vice president - manufacturing, global cellulose fibers from 2016 to December 2019, vice president of pulp from 2014 to 2016, and vice president manufacturing, North American papers from 2012 to 2014. Mr. Ellis joined International Paper in 1992.

W. Thomas Hamic, 54, senior vice president - containerboard and enterprise commercial excellence since December 2019. Mr. Hamic previously served as vice president and general manager - containerboard & recycling, North American container from June 2015 until December 2019. Mr. Hamic became vice president and general manager of the south area in container of the Americas in 2009, and he was appointed to the role of vice president, industrial packaging group’s finance & strategy in 2010. Mr. Hamic joined International Paper in 1991.

Tommy S. Joseph, 60, senior vice president until his retirement effective February 29, 2020. Mr. Joseph previously served as senior vice president - manufacturing, technology, EH&S and global sourcing from January 2010 until October 2019. Mr. Joseph has also previously served as senior vice president - manufacturing, technology, EH&S from February 2009 until December 2009, and vice president - technology from 2005 until February 2009. Mr. Joseph is a director of Ilim in which International Paper holds a 50% interest, and of its subsidiary, Ilim Group. Mr. Joseph joined International Paper in 1982.

Timothy S. Nicholls, 58, senior vice president & chief financial officer since June 2018. Mr. Nicholls previously served as senior vice president - industrial packaging the Americas from January 2017 through June 2018, senior vice president - industrial packaging from November 2014 through December 2016, senior vice president - printing and communications papers of the Americas from November 2011 through October 2014, senior vice president and chief financial officer from 2007 until 2011, vice president and executive project leader of IP Europe during 2007, and vice president and chief financial officer - IP Europe from 2005 until 2007. Mr. Nicholls joined International Paper in 1999.

Thomas J. Plath, 56, senior vice president - human resources and global citizenship since March 1, 2017. Mr. Plath previously served as vice president - human resources, global businesses from November 2014 through February 2017, and vice president - HR manufacturing, technology, EH&S and global supply
 
chain from April 2013 to November 2014. Mr. Plath joined International Paper in 1991.

Jean-Michel Ribieras, 57, senior vice president - industrial packaging the Americas since June 2018. Mr. Ribieras previously served as senior vice president - global cellulose fibers from July 2016 through June 2018, senior vice president - president, IP Europe, Middle East, Africa & Russia from 2013 until June 2016, and president - IP Latin America from 2009 until 2013. Mr. Ribieras joined International Paper in 1993.

James P. Royalty, Jr., 50, senior vice president and president, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia since December 2019. Most recently, Mr. Royalty served as vice president, corporate development and disruptive technologies from September 2018 until December 2019, vice president, strategic projects from 2017 until 2018, vice president, investor relations from 2013 until 2017, vice president and general manager, container the Americas in 2008 to 2013. Mr. Royalty joined International Paper in 1991.

Sharon R. Ryan, 60, senior vice president, general counsel & corporate secretary since November 2011. Ms. Ryan previously served as vice president, acting general counsel & corporate secretary from May 2011 until November 2011, vice president from March 2011 until May 2011, associate general counsel, chief ethics and compliance officer from 2009 until 2011, and associate general counsel from 2006 until 2009. Ms. Ryan joined International Paper in 1988.

John V. Sims, 57, senior vice president - corporate development since December 2019. Mr Sims previously served as senior vice president - president, IP Europe, Middle East, Africa & Russia from July 2016 until December 2019. Mr. Sims also previously served as vice president and general manager, European papers from January 2016 until June 2016, vice president & general manager, North American papers from 2014 until December 2015, and vice president, finance and strategy, industrial packaging, from 2009 until 2013. Mr. Sims is a director of Ilim in which International Paper holds a 50% interest, and of its subsidiary, Ilim Group. Mr. Sims joined International Paper in 1994.

Catherine I. Slater, 56, senior vice president - global cellulose fibers & IP Asia since June 2018. Ms. Slater previously served as senior vice president - consumer packaging from December 2016 through December 2017. Ms. Slater joined International Paper from Weyerhaeuser Company in December 2016, effective with the completion of the acquisition of Weyerhaeuser’s cellulose fibers business, which she previously led. Ms. Slater’s 24-year career with Weyerhaeuser included leadership roles in manufacturing, printing papers,

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consumer products, wood products and the cellulose fibers business.

Gregory T. Wanta, 54, senior vice president - North American container since December 2016. Mr. Wanta has served in a variety of roles of increasing responsibility in manufacturing and commercial leadership roles in specialty papers, coated paperboard, printing papers, foodservice and industrial packaging, including vice president, central region, Container the Americas, from January 2012 through October 2016. Mr. Wanta joined International Paper in 1991.

RAW MATERIALS

Raw materials essential to our businesses include wood fiber, purchased in the form of pulpwood, wood chips and old corrugated containers (OCC), and certain chemicals, including caustic soda and starch. For further information concerning fiber supply purchase agreements, see page 31.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (including the exhibits hereto) that are not historical in nature may be considered “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are often identified by the words, “will,” “may,” “should,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “plan,” “appear,” “project,” “estimate,” “intend,” and words of a similar nature. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and reflect management’s current views with respect to future events, which are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Factors which could cause actual results to differ include but are not limited to: (i) the level of our indebtedness and changes in interest rates; (ii) industry conditions, including but not limited to changes in the cost or availability of raw materials, energy and transportation costs, competition we face, cyclicality and changes in consumer preferences, demand and pricing for our products; (iii) domestic and global economic conditions and political changes, including but not limited to changes in currency exchange rates, trade protectionist policies, downgrades in our credit ratings and/or the credit ratings of banks issuing certain letters of credit, issued by recognized credit rating organizations, (iv) the amount of our future pension funding obligations, and pension and health care costs; (v) unanticipated expenditures or other adverse developments related to the cost of compliance with existing and new environmental, tax, labor and employment, privacy, and other U.S. and non-U.S. governmental laws and regulations; (vi) whether we experience a material disruption at one of our
 
manufacturing facilities; (vii) risks inherent in conducting business through joint ventures; (viii) our ability to achieve the benefits we expect from, and other risks associated with, acquisitions, joint ventures, divestitures and other corporate transactions, (ix) information technology risks, and (x) loss contingencies and pending, threatened or future litigation, including with respect to environmental matters. These and other factors that could cause or contribute to actual results differing materially from such forward-looking statements are discussed in greater detail below in “Item 1A. Risk Factors.” In addition, other risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial could affect the accuracy of any forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

The Company faces risks in the normal course of business and through global, regional, and local events that could have an adverse impact on its reputation, operations, and financial performance. The Board of Directors exercises oversight of the Company’s enterprise risk management program, which includes strategic, operational and financial matters, as well as compliance and legal risks. The Audit and Finance Committee coordinates the risk oversight role exercised by the Board’s standing committees and management, and it receives updates on the risk management processes twice per year.
In addition to the risks and uncertainties discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (particularly in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations), or in the Company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the following are some important factors that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statement. If any of the events or circumstances described in any of the following risk factors occurs, our business, results of operations and/or financial condition could be materially and adversely affected, and our actual results may differ materially from those contemplated in any forward-looking statements we make in any public disclosures.
RISKS RELATING TO INDUSTRY CONDITIONS
CHANGES IN THE COST OR AVAILABILITY OF RAW MATERIALS, ENERGY AND TRANSPORTATION COULD AFFECT OUR PROFITABILITY. We rely heavily on the use of certain raw materials (principally virgin wood fiber, recycled fiber, caustic soda and starch), energy sources (principally biomass, natural gas, electricity and fuel oil) and third-party companies that transport our goods. The market price of virgin wood

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fiber varies based upon availability and source. The global supply and demand for recycled fiber may be affected by trade policies between countries, individual governments' legislation and regulations, as well as changes in the global economy. In addition, the increase in demand of products manufactured, in whole or in part, from recycled fiber, on a global basis, may cause significant fluctuations in recycled fiber prices. Energy prices, in particular prices for oil and natural gas, have fluctuated dramatically in the past and may continue to fluctuate in the future. The availability of labor and the market price for fuel may affect our costs for third-party transportation. Our profitability has been, and will continue to be, affected by changes in the costs and availability of such raw materials, energy sources and transportation sources.
THE INDUSTRIES IN WHICH WE OPERATE EXPERIENCE BOTH ECONOMIC CYCLICALITY AND CHANGES IN CONSUMER PREFERENCES. FLUCTUATIONS IN THE PRICES OF, AND THE DEMAND FOR, OUR PRODUCTS COULD MATERIALLY AFFECT OUR FINANCIAL CONDITION, RESULTS OF OPERATIONS AND CASH FLOWS. Substantially all of our businesses have experienced, and are likely to continue to experience, cycles relating to industry capacity and general economic conditions. The length and magnitude of these cycles have varied over time and by product. In addition, changes in consumer preferences may increase or decrease the demand for our fiber-based products and non-fiber substitutes. Moreover, consumer preferences are constantly changing based on, among other factors, cost, convenience and health, environmental and social concerns and perceptions. These consumer preferences affect the prices of our products. Consequently, our financial results are sensitive to changes in the pricing and demand for our products.
COMPETITION IN THE UNITED STATES AND INTERNATIONALLY COULD NEGATIVELY IMPACT OUR FINANCIAL RESULTS. We operate in a competitive environment, both in the United States and internationally, in all of our operating segments. Product innovations, manufacturing and operating efficiencies, and marketing, distribution and pricing strategies pursued or achieved by competitors could negatively impact our financial results.
RISKS RELATING TO MARKET AND ECONOMIC FACTORS
ADVERSE DEVELOPMENTS IN GENERAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS COULD HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE DEMAND FOR OUR PRODUCTS AND OUR FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS. General economic conditions may adversely affect industrial non-durable goods production, consumer spending, commercial printing and advertising activity, white-collar
 
employment levels and consumer confidence, all of which impact demand for our products. In addition, volatility in the capital and credit markets, which impacts interest rates, currency exchange rates and the availability of credit, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and our results of operations.
CHANGES IN INTERNATIONAL CONDITIONS COULD ADVERSELY AFFECT OUR BUSINESS AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS. Our operating results and business prospects could be substantially affected by risks related to the countries outside the United States in which we have manufacturing facilities or sell our products. Specifically, Russia, Brazil, Poland, and Turkey, where we have substantial manufacturing facilities, are countries that are exposed to economic and political instability in their respective regions of the world. Fluctuations in the value of local currency versus the U.S. dollar, downturns in economic activity, adverse tax consequences or rulings, nationalization or any change in social, political or labor conditions in any of these countries or regions impacting matters such as sustainability, environmental regulations and trade policies and agreements, could negatively affect our financial results. In addition, outbreak of a widespread health epidemic, such as a coronavirus, influenza and other highly communicable diseases or viruses, could also adversely impact our operating results and business prospects, including if operations of our customers are adversely impacted. In this regard, while we do not currently expect that our financial results will be significantly and adversely affected by the COVID-19 virus that was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, there continue to be significant uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 virus, including with respect to the ultimate geographic spread of the virus, the severity of the disease, the duration of the outbreak, and actions that may be taken by Chinese or other governmental authorities to contain the COVID-19 virus or to treat its impact, and the extent to which the COVID-19 outbreak may impact our financial results, including as the result of its possible impact on the Chinese or global economy, is not certain.
Trade protection measures in favor of local producers of competing products, including governmental subsidies, tax benefits and other measures giving local producers a competitive advantage over International Paper, may also adversely impact our operating results and business prospects in these countries. Likewise, disruption in existing trade agreements or increased trade friction between countries (e.g., the U.S. and China), which can result in tariffs, could have a negative effect on our business and results of operations by restricting the free flow of goods and services across borders. In addition, our international operations are subject to regulation under U.S. law and other laws related to operations in foreign jurisdictions. For

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example, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits U.S. companies and their representatives from offering, promising, authorizing or making payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business abroad, and the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control and other non-U.S. government entities maintain economic sanctions targeting various countries, persons and entities. Failure to comply with domestic or foreign laws could result in various adverse consequences, including the imposition of civil or criminal sanctions and the prosecution of executives overseeing our international operations.
THE LEVEL OF OUR INDEBTEDNESS COULD ADVERSELY AFFECT OUR FINANCIAL CONDITION AND IMPAIR OUR ABILITY TO OPERATE OUR BUSINESS. As of December 31, 2019, International Paper had approximately $9.8 billion of outstanding indebtedness. The level of our indebtedness could have important consequences to our financial condition, operating results and business, including the following:
it may limit our ability to obtain additional debt or equity financing for working capital, capital expenditures, product development, dividends, share repurchases, debt service requirements, acquisitions and general corporate or other purposes;
a portion of our cash flows from operations will be dedicated to payments on indebtedness and will not be available for other purposes, including operations, capital expenditures and future business opportunities;
the debt service requirements of our indebtedness could make it more difficult for us to satisfy other obligations;
it may limit our ability to adjust to changing market conditions and place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt; and
it may increase our vulnerability to a downturn in general economic conditions or in our business, and may make us unable to carry out capital spending that is important to our growth.
In addition, we are subject to agreements governing our indebtedness that require us to meet and maintain certain financial ratios and covenants. A significant or prolonged downturn in general business and economic conditions, or other significant adverse developments with respect to our results of operations or financial condition, may affect our ability to comply with these covenants or meet those financial ratios and tests and could require us to take action to reduce our debt or to act in a manner contrary to our current business objectives. Moreover, the restrictions associated with
 
these financial ratios and covenants may prevent us from taking actions that we believe would be in the best interest of our business and may make it difficult for us to execute our business strategy successfully or effectively compete with companies that are not similarly restricted. Additionally, despite these restrictions, we may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, which might subject us to additional restrictive covenants that could affect our financial and operational flexibility and otherwise increase the risks associated with our indebtedness as noted above.

Moreover, certain of our variable rate debt uses the London Interbank Offering Rate (“LIBOR”) as a benchmark for establishing the interest rate. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced in 2017 that it intends to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. In addition, other regulators have suggested reforming or replacing other benchmark rates. The discontinuation, reform or replacement of LIBOR or any other benchmark rates may have an unpredictable impact on contractual mechanics in the credit markets or cause disruption to the broader financial markets. Additionally, uncertainty as to the nature of such potential discontinuation, reform or replacement may negatively impact the cost of our variable rate debt.
CHANGES IN CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED BY NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED STATISTICAL RATING ORGANIZATIONS COULD ADVERSELY AFFECT OUR COST OF FINANCING AND HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE MARKET PRICE OF OUR SECURITIES. Maintaining an investment-grade credit rating is an important element of our financial strategy, and a downgrade of the Company’s ratings below investment grade will likely eliminate our ability to access the commercial paper market, may limit our access to the capital markets, have an adverse effect on the market price of our securities, increase our cost of borrowing and require us to post collateral for derivatives in a net liability position. The Company’s desire to maintain its investment grade rating may cause the Company to take certain actions designed to improve its cash flow, including sale of assets, suspension or reduction of our dividend and reductions in capital expenditures and working capital.
Under the terms of the agreements governing approximately $1.4 billion of our debt as of December 31, 2019, the applicable interest rate on such debt may increase upon each downgrade in our credit rating below investment grade. As a result, a downgrade in our credit rating below investment grade may lead to an increase in our interest expense. There can be no assurance that such credit ratings will remain in effect for any given period of time or that such ratings will not be lowered, suspended or withdrawn entirely by the rating agencies, if, in each rating agency’s judgment, circumstances so warrant. Any such downgrade,

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suspension or withdrawal of our credit ratings could adversely affect our cost of borrowing, limit our access to the capital markets or result in more restrictive covenants in agreements governing the terms of any future indebtedness that we may incur.
DOWNGRADES IN THE CREDIT RATINGS OF BANKS ISSUING CERTAIN LETTERS OF CREDIT WILL INCREASE OUR COST OF MAINTAINING CERTAIN INDEBTEDNESS AND MAY RESULT IN THE ACCELERATION OF DEFERRED TAXES. We are subject to the risk that a bank with currently issued irrevocable letters of credit supporting installment notes, including those delivered to Temple-Inland in connection with Temple-Inland's 2007 sales of forestlands, may be downgraded below a required rating. Since 2007, certain banks have fallen below the required ratings threshold and were successfully replaced, or waivers were obtained regarding their replacement. As a result of continuing uncertainty in the banking environment, a number of the letter-of-credit banks currently in place remain subject to risk of downgrade and the number of qualified replacement banks remains limited. The downgrade of one or more of these banks may subject the Company to additional costs of securing a replacement letter-of-credit bank or could result in an acceleration of payments of up to $485 million in deferred income taxes if replacement banks cannot be obtained. The deferred taxes are currently recorded in the Company's consolidated financial statements. See Note 15, Variable Interest Entities, on pages 68 through 70, and Note 13, Income Taxes, on pages 62 through 65, in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data for further information.
OUR PENSION AND HEALTH CARE COSTS ARE SUBJECT TO NUMEROUS FACTORS WHICH COULD CAUSE THESE COSTS TO CHANGE. We have defined benefit pension plans covering substantially all U.S. salaried employees hired prior to July 1, 2004 (or later for certain acquired populations, as described in Note 19. Retirement Plans, on pages 75 through 81, in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data) and substantially all hourly union and non-union employees regardless of hire date. The Company has frozen participation under these plans for U.S. salaried employees, including credited services and compensation on or after January 1, 2019; however, the pension freeze does not affect benefits accrued through December 31, 2018. We provide retiree health care benefits to certain former U.S. employees, as well as financial assistance towards the cost of individual retiree medical coverage for certain former U.S. salaried employees. Our pension costs are dependent upon numerous factors resulting from actual plan experience and assumptions of future experience. Pension plan assets are primarily made up of equity and fixed income investments. Fluctuations in actual equity market returns, changes in general interest rates and changes
 
in the number of retirees may impact pension costs in future periods. Likewise, changes in assumptions regarding current discount rates and expected rates of return on plan assets could increase pension costs. Drivers for fluctuating health costs include unit cost changes, health care utilization by participants, and potential legislative impacts and government oversight.
OUR PENSION PLANS ARE CURRENTLY UNDERFUNDED ON A PROJECTED BENEFIT OBLIGATION BASIS, AND OVER TIME WE MAY BE REQUIRED TO MAKE CASH PAYMENTS TO THE PLANS, REDUCING THE CASH AVAILABLE FOR OUR BUSINESS. We record a liability associated with our pension plans equal to the excess of the benefit obligation over the fair value of plan assets. The benefit liability recorded under the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 715, “Compensation – Retirement Benefits,” at December 31, 2019 was $1.6 billion. The amount and timing of future contributions, which could be material, will depend upon a number of factors, including the actual earnings and changes in values of plan assets and changes in interest rates.
RISKS RELATING TO OUR OPERATIONS
MATERIAL DISRUPTIONS AT ONE OF OUR MANUFACTURING FACILITIES COULD NEGATIVELY IMPACT OUR FINANCIAL RESULTS. We operate our facilities in compliance with applicable rules and regulations and take measures to minimize the risks of disruption at our facilities. A material disruption at our corporate headquarters or one of our manufacturing facilities could prevent us from meeting customer demand, reduce our sales and/or negatively impact our financial condition. Any of our manufacturing facilities, or any of our machines within an otherwise operational facility, could cease operations unexpectedly due to a number of events, including:
fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or other catastrophes;
the effect of a drought or reduced rainfall on its water supply;
the effect of other severe weather conditions on equipment and facilities;
disruption in the supply of raw materials or other manufacturing inputs;
terrorism or threats of terrorism;
information system disruptions or failures due to any number of causes, including cyber-attacks;
domestic and international laws and regulations applicable to our Company and our business partners, including joint venture partners, around the world;

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unscheduled maintenance outages;
prolonged power failures;
an equipment failure;
a chemical spill or release;
explosion of a boiler or other equipment;
damage or disruptions caused by third parties operating on or adjacent to one of our manufacturing facilities;
disruptions in the transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges, railroad tracks and tunnels;
a widespread outbreak of an illness or any other communicable disease, such as the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in China, or any other public health crisis;
failure of our third party service providers and business partners to satisfactorily fulfill their commitments and responsibilities in a timely manner and in accordance with agreed upon terms;
labor difficulties; and
other operational problems.
Any such downtime or facility damage could prevent us from meeting customer demand for our products and/or require us to make unplanned expenditures. If one of these machines or facilities were to incur significant downtime, our ability to meet our production targets and satisfy customer requirements could be impaired, resulting in lower sales and having a negative effect on our business and financial results.
CERTAIN OPERATIONS ARE CONDUCTED BY JOINT VENTURES THAT WE CANNOT OPERATE SOLELY FOR OUR BENEFIT. Certain operations in Russia are carried on by a joint venture, Ilim. In joint ventures, we share ownership and management of a company with one or more parties who may or may not have the same goals, strategies, priorities or resources as we do. In general, joint ventures are intended to be operated for the benefit of all co-owners, rather than for our exclusive benefit. Operating a business as a joint venture often requires additional organizational formalities as well as time-consuming procedures for sharing information and making decisions. In joint ventures, we are required to pay more attention to our relationship with our co-owners as well as with the joint venture, and if a co-owner changes, our relationship may be adversely affected. In addition, the benefits from a successful joint venture are shared among the co-owners, so we receive only our portion of those benefits.
 
WE MAY NOT ACHIEVE THE EXPECTED BENEFITS FROM STRATEGIC ACQUISITIONS, JOINT VENTURES, DIVESTITURES, CAPITAL INVESTMENTS AND OTHER CORPORATE TRANSACTIONS THAT WE HAVE PURSUED OR MAY PURSUE. Our strategy for long-term growth, productivity and profitability depends, in part, on our ability to accomplish prudent acquisitions, joint ventures, divestitures, capital investments and other corporate transactions that we may pursue and to realize the benefits we expect from such transactions, and we are subject to the risk that we may not achieve the expected benefits. This failure could require us to record an impairment charge for goodwill or other intangible assets, which could lead to decreased assets and reduced net earnings. Among the benefits we expect from potential as well as completed acquisitions and joint ventures are synergies, cost savings, growth opportunities or access to new markets (or a combination thereof), and in the case of divestitures, the realization of proceeds from the sale of businesses and assets to purchasers who place higher strategic value on such businesses and assets than does International Paper.

Corporate transactions of this nature which we may pursue involve a number of special risks, including with respect to our inability to realize our business goals with respect to such transactions as noted above, the focus of our management’s attention on these transactions and the assimilation of acquired businesses into our operations, the demands on our financial, operational and information technology systems resulting from acquired businesses, and the possibility that we may become responsible for substantial contingent or unanticipated legal liabilities as the result of acquisitions or other corporate transactions.
WE ARE SUBJECT TO INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RISKS RELATED TO BREACHES OF SECURITY PERTAINING TO SENSITIVE COMPANY, CUSTOMER, EMPLOYEE AND VENDOR INFORMATION AS WELL AS BREACHES IN THE TECHNOLOGY USED TO MANAGE OPERATIONS AND OTHER BUSINESS PROCESSES. Our business operations rely upon secure information technology systems for data capture, processing, storage and reporting. Despite careful security and controls design, implementation, updating and independent third party verification, our information technology systems, and those of our third party providers or joint venture partners, could become subject to employee error or malfeasance, cyber attacks by common hackers, criminal groups or nation-state organizations or social activist (hacktivist) organizations, geopolitical events, natural disasters, failures or impairments of telecommunications networks or other catastrophic events. Network, system, application and data breaches

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could result in operational disruptions or information misappropriation including, but not limited to, interruption to systems availability, denial of access to and misuse of applications required by our customers to conduct business with International Paper. Access to applications required to plan our operations, source materials, manufacture and ship finished goods and account for orders could be denied or misused. Theft of intellectual property or trade secrets, and inappropriate disclosure of confidential company, employee, customer or vendor information, could stem from such incidents. Any of these operational disruptions and/or misappropriation of information could result in lost sales, business delays, negative publicity and could have a material effect on our business.
RISKS RELATING TO LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AND COMPLIANCE COSTS

WE ARE SUBJECT TO A WIDE VARIETY OF LAWS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT REQUIREMENTS THAT MAY CHANGE IN SIGNIFICANT WAYS, AND THE COST OF COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH REQUIREMENTS COULD IMPACT OUR BUSINESS AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS. Our operations are subject to regulation under a wide variety of U.S. federal and state and non-U.S. laws, regulations and other government requirements -- including, among others, those relating to the environment, health and safety, labor and employment, data privacy, tax, trade and health care. There can be no assurance that laws, regulations and government requirements will not be changed, applied or interpreted in ways that will require us to modify our operations and objectives or affect our returns on investments by restricting existing activities and products, subjecting them to escalating costs.

For example, we have incurred, and expect that we will continue to incur, significant capital, operating and other expenditures complying with applicable environmental laws and regulations. Our environmental expenditures include, among other areas, those related to air and water quality, waste disposal and the cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater, including situations where we have been identified as a potentially responsible party. Moreover, we may be directly impacted by, and are working to manage, the risks and costs to us, our customers and our vendors of the effects of climate change, greenhouse gases, and the availability of energy and water resources. These risks include the potentially adverse impact on forestlands, which are a key resource in the production of our products, increased product costs and a change in the types of products that customers purchase. We also face risks arising from the increased public focus, including by governmental and nongovernmental organizations, on these and other environmental sustainability matters, such as packaging and waste, deforestation, and land
 
use. These risks also include the increased pressure to make commitments, set targets, or establish additional goals and take actions to meet them. These risks could expose us to market, operational, and execution costs or risks. There can be no assurance that future remediation requirements and compliance with existing and new laws and requirements will not require significant expenditures, or that existing reserves for specific matters will be adequate to cover future costs. We could also incur substantial fines or sanctions, enforcement actions (including orders limiting our operations or requiring corrective measures), natural resource damages claims, cleanup and closure costs, and third-party claims for property damage and personal injury as a result of violations of, or liabilities under, environmental laws, regulations, codes and common law. The amount and timing of environmental expenditures is difficult to predict, and, in some cases, liability may be imposed without regard to contribution or to whether we knew of, or caused, the release of hazardous substances.

Additionally, we are subject to complex and evolving U.S. and international privacy laws and regulations, including those pertaining to the handling of personal data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”). The GDPR, which became effective on May 25, 2018, with respect to all member states of the European Union, includes operational requirements for companies receiving or processing personal data of EU residents that are partially different from those that had previously been in place and includes significant penalties for noncompliance. The CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, affords California residents and households expanded privacy protections. Moreover, governmental authorities around the world are considering, or are in the process of implementing, new data protection regulations.

Many of these laws and regulations are subject to uncertain application, interpretation or enforcement standards that could result in claims, changes to our business practices, data processing and security systems, penalties, increased operating costs or other impacts on our businesses. The recently enacted laws often provide for civil penalties for violations, as well as private rights of action for data breaches that may increase data breach litigation. IP proactively uses internal and external resources to monitor compliance with relevant legislation and continually evaluates and, where necessary, modifies its data processing practices and policies in order to comply with evolving privacy laws. Nevertheless, relevant regulatory authorities could determine that our data handling practices fail to address all the requirements of certain new laws, which could subject us to penalties and/or litigation. In addition, there is no assurance that our security controls over personal data, the training of employees and vendors

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on data privacy and data security, and the policies, procedures and practices we implemented or may implement in the future will prevent the improper disclosure of personal data. Improper disclosure of personal data in violation of the GDPR, the CCPA and/or of other personal data protection laws could harm our reputation, cause loss of consumer confidence, subject us to government enforcement actions (including fines), or result in private litigation against us, which could result in loss of revenue, increased costs, liability for monetary damages, fines and/or criminal prosecution, all of which could negatively affect our business and operating results.

As a final example, the application of tax law is subject to interpretation and is subject to audit by taxing authorities. Additionally, administrative guidance can be incomplete or vary from legislative intent, and therefore the application of the tax law is uncertain. While we believe the positions reported by the Company comply with relevant tax laws and regulations, taxing authorities could interpret our application of certain laws and regulations differently. We are currently subject to tax audits in the U.S., Brazil, Poland, Russia and other taxing jurisdictions around the world. In some cases, we have appealed and may continue to appeal, assessments by taxing authorities in the court system. As such, tax controversy matters may result in previously unrecorded tax expenses, higher future tax expenses or the assessment of interest and penalties.
RESULTS OF LEGAL PROCEEDINGS COULD HAVE A MATERIAL EFFECT ON OUR CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL RESULTS. We are a party to various legal, regulatory and governmental proceedings and other related matters, including with respect to environmental matters. In addition, we are and may become subject to other loss contingencies, both known and unknown, which may relate to past, present and future facts, events, circumstances and occurrences. Should an unfavorable outcome occur in connection with our legal, regulatory or governmental proceedings or other loss contingencies, or if we become subject to any such loss contingencies in the future, there could be a material adverse impact on our financial results.

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM  2. PROPERTIES

FORESTLANDS

As of December 31, 2019, the Company owned or managed approximately 329,000 acres of forestlands in Brazil, and had, through licenses and forest management agreements, harvesting rights on government-owned forestlands in Russia. All owned
 
lands in Brazil are independently third-party certified for sustainable forestry under the Brazilian National Forest Certification Program (CERFLOR) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

MILLS AND PLANTS
A listing of our production facilities by segment, the vast majority of which we own, can be found in Appendix I hereto, which is incorporated herein by reference.

The Company’s facilities are in good operating condition and are suited for the purposes for which they are presently being used. We continue to study the economics of modernization or adopting other alternatives for higher cost facilities.

CAPITAL INVESTMENTS AND DISPOSITIONS

Given the size, scope and complexity of our business interests, we continually examine and evaluate a wide variety of business opportunities and planning alternatives, including possible acquisitions and sales or other dispositions of properties. You can find a discussion about the level of planned capital investments for 2020 on page 30, and dispositions and restructuring activities as of December 31, 2019, on pages 23 through 25 of Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and on page 56 of Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Information concerning certain legal proceedings of the Company is set forth in Note 14 Commitments and Contingent Liabilities on pages 65 through 68 of Item  8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data which is incorporated herein by reference.
Additionally, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Company are currently in negotiations to enter into a settlement of violations by the Company’s Pensacola mill of its wastewater effluent discharge permit chronic toxicity limit. The settlement would include penalties totaling $1.1 million and require the mill to engage in certain corrective actions.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

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PART II.

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
As of the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the Company’s common shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: IP). As of February 14, 2020, there were approximately 9,663 record holders of common stock of the Company.

 

We pay regular quarterly cash dividends and expect to continue to pay regular quarterly cash dividends in the foreseeable future, though each quarterly dividend payment is subject to review and approval by our Board of Directors. Our ability to pay dividends is, and in the
future may continue to be, limited by the terms of our debt documents.
The table below presents information regarding the Company’s purchases of its equity securities for the time periods presented.



PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS.
Period
Total Number of Shares Purchased (a)
Average Price Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares (or Units) Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Programs
Maximum Number (or Approximate Dollar Value) of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs (in billions)
October 1, 2019 - October 31, 2019

$


$
1.75

November 1, 2019 - November 30, 2019
205

43.68


1.75

December 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019
5,357

46.34


1.75

Total
5,562

 
 
 

(a)
5,562 shares were acquired from employees from share withholdings to pay income taxes under the Company’s restricted stock programs. During 2019, 10,828,416 shares were purchased under our share repurchase program, which was approved by our Board of Directors and announced on July 8, 2014 and October 9, 2018. Through this program, which does not have an expiration date, we were authorized to purchase, in open market transactions (including block trades), privately negotiated transactions or otherwise, up to $3.5 billion aggregate amount of shares of our common stock. As of February 14, 2020, approximately $1.75 billion aggregate amount of shares of our common stock remained authorized for purchase under this program.























 























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PERFORMANCE GRAPH
The performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Commission or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C under, or to the liabilities of Section 18 of, the Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
 
The following graph compares a $100 investment in Company stock on December 31, 2014 with a $100 investment in our Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) Peer Group and the S&P 500 also made at market close on December 31, 2014. The graph portrays total return, 2014–2019, assuming reinvestment of dividends.


roeye2014ipa021a.jpg

Note 1. The companies included in the ROIC Peer Group are Domtar Inc., Fibria Celulose S.A., Graphic Packaging Holding Company, Klabin S.A., Metsa Board Corporation, Mondi Group, Packaging Corporation of America, Smurfit Kappa Group, Stora Enso Group, and UPM-Kymmene Corp. WestRock was added to the Peer group beginning in 2016 after the merger of MeadWestvaco and Rock-Tenn. Fibria Celulose S.A. was excluded at the end of 2018 due to being acquired by Suzano.
Note 2.
Returns are calculated in $USD.

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ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
FIVE-YEAR FINANCIAL SUMMARY (a)
Dollar amounts in millions, except per share amounts and stock prices
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
$
22,376

  
$
23,306

  
$
21,743

  
$
19,495

  
$
20,675

  
Costs and expenses, excluding interest
20,281

  
20,989

  
20,323

  
18,180

  
18,988

  
Earnings (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes and equity earnings
1,604

(b)  
1,781

(e) 
848

(h)  
795

(k) 
1,132

(n)  
Equity earnings (loss), net of taxes
250

  
336

  
177

 
198

  
117

  
Discontinued operations, net of taxes


345

(f) 
34

(i) 
102

(l) 
85

(o) 
Net earnings (loss)
1,220

(b-c)  
2,017

(e-g)  
2,144

(h-j) 
902

(k-m)  
917

(n-p)  
Noncontrolling interests, net of taxes
(5
)
(d) 
5

  

  
(2
)
  
(21
)
  
Net earnings (loss) attributable to International Paper Company
1,225

(b-d)  
2,012

(e-g) 
2,144

(h-j) 
904

(k-m)  
938

(n-p)  
FINANCIAL POSITION
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current assets less current liabilities
$
(2,007
)
  
$
2,302

  
$
3,175

  
$
2,601

  
$
2,244

  
Plants, properties and equipment, net
13,004

  
13,067

  
13,265

  
13,003

  
11,000

  
Forestlands
391

  
402

  
448

  
456

  
366

  
Financial assets of variable interest entities
7,088

 
7,070

 
7,051

 
7,033

 
7,014

 
Total assets
33,471

  
33,576

  
33,903

  
33,093

  
30,271

  
Notes payable and current maturities of long-term debt
168

  
639

  
311

  
239

  
426

  
Current nonrecourse financial liabilities of variable interest entities
4,220

 

 

 

 

 
Long-term debt
9,597

  
10,015

  
10,846

  
11,075

  
8,844

  
Long-term nonrecourse financial liabilities of variable interest entities
2,085

 
6,298

 
6,291

 
6,284

 
6,277

 
Total shareholders’ equity
7,713

  
7,362

  
6,522

  
4,341

  
3,884

  
BASIC EARNINGS PER SHARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY COMMON SHAREHOLDERS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earnings (loss) from continuing operations
$
3.10

  
$
4.07

  
$
5.11

  
$
1.95

 
$
2.05

  
Discontinued operations

  
0.84

  
0.08

  
0.25

 
0.20

 
Net earnings (loss)
3.10

  
4.91

  
5.19

  
2.20

 
2.25

 
DILUTED EARNINGS PER SHARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY COMMON SHAREHOLDERS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earnings (loss) from continuing operations
$
3.07

  
$
4.02

  
$
5.05

  
$
1.93

 
$
2.03

  
Discontinued operations

  
0.83

  
0.08

  
0.25

 
0.20

 
Net earnings (loss)
3.07

  
4.85

  
5.13

  
2.18

 
2.23

  
Cash dividends
2.013

  
1.925

  
1.863

  
1.783

  
1.640

  
COMMON STOCK PRICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
High
$
48.24

  
$
66.94

  
$
58.96

  
$
54.68

  
$
57.90

  
Low
36.45

  
37.55

  
49.60

  
32.50

  
36.76

  
Year-end
46.05

  
40.36

  
57.94

  
53.06

  
37.70

  
FINANCIAL RATIOS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Current ratio
0.8

  
1.5

  
1.6

  
1.6

  
1.6

  
Total debt to capital ratio
0.56

  
0.59

  
0.63

  
0.72

  
0.70

  
Return on shareholders’ equity
16.2
%

28.4
%

43.9
%

22.1
%

20.0
%

CAPITAL EXPENDITURES
$
1,276

  
$
1,572

  
$
1,391

  
$
1,348

  
$
1,487

  
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
51,000