International Paper Co's (IP) merger with Temple-Inland will help increase its share in the North American corrugated-packaging market from 27% to 34%. Furthermore, through its joint ventures, International Paper has significant projects underway in Russia and China, which will help the company sustain its earnings growth.
International Paper has hiked its quarterly dividend by 14% to $1.20. We expect International Paper to continue to utilize its sound cash flow by investing in capital projects, acquisitions, reducing its total debt and paying increased dividend.
We have upgraded our recommendation from Neutral to Outperform on the successful implementation of an increase in containerboard prices and the accretive effect it will have on the earnings of the company with a target price of $45.00. This target price, 17.6x our 2012 EPS estimate, reflects our view.
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