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Sonoco Products Co (NYSE:SON)
Q3 2020 Earnings Call
Oct 22, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Third Quarter 2020 Sonoco Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] After the speakers' presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Roger Schrum, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Thank you, Josh and good morning, everyone, and welcome to Sonoco's third quarter investor conference call. Joining me today is Howard Coker, President and Chief Executive Officer; Rodger Fuller, Executive Vice President; and Julie Albrecht, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

A news release reporting our financial results was issued before the market opened today and is available on the Investor Relations website at sonoco.com. In addition, we will reference a presentation on our third quarter results, which also was posted on our website this morning.

Before we go further, let me remind you that today's call and presentation contains a number of forward-looking statements based on current expectations, estimates and projections. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Therefore, actual results may differ materially.

Furthermore, today's presentation includes the use of non-GAAP financial measures, which management believes provides useful information to investors about the company's financial condition and results of operations. Further information about the company's use of non-GAAP financial measures, including definitions as well as reconciliations of those measures to the most closely related GAAP measure, is available on the Investor Relations section of our website.

Now, with that introduction, I'll turn it over to Julie.

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Roger. I'll begin on Slide 3 where you see that earlier this morning, we reported third quarter earnings per share on a GAAP basis of $0.82 and base earnings of $0.86 per share, which is above our guidance range of $0.73 to $0.83 per share. Due to the negative impact from COVID-19, this $0.86 of base EPS is well below the $0.97 that we delivered in the third quarter of last year.

At a high level, our third quarter 2020 earnings reflected mixed demand for our diversified products and negative price/cost in our industrial segments. Partially offsetting these headwinds with very strong productivity driven across our business. Our third quarter base earnings were above our expectations primarily due to better operating performance in certain business. Most notable were integrated industrial North America, as well as our Protective Solutions and Display and Packaging segments.

I'll highlight that certain important aspects of our business performed in line with our expectations, including our consumer results and the price/cost impacts in industrial. In terms of the $0.04 difference between base and GAAP EPS, $0.18 is due to restructuring activities and $0.06 relates to non-operating pension costs. These non-base expenses were partially offset by a non-base income tax gain of $0.20 driven by a deferred tax writedown related to the pending sale of D&P Europe business.

I'd like to highlight that, the $24 million of pre-tax restructuring expense almost $20 million is non-cash and includes nearly $15 million of non-cash charges related to actions we are taking in our perimeter-of-the-store business. However, we will be talking more about this during his comments today. I'll add that as you can see, we did not exclude any COVID-19 related P&L items from our base earnings. During the third quarter, we incurred approximately $3.5 million of costs directly related to coronavirus including purchasing, protective gear, cleaning our facilities and thank employees, who were in quarantine for related reasons.

Now looking briefly at our base income statement on Slide 4, and starting with the top line, you see that sales were $1,312 million, down $42 million from the prior year period. I'll review more details about our key sales drivers on that bridge in just a moment. Gross profit was $257 million, $8 million below the prior year period. Despite the reduction in sales, we maintained our gross profit as a percent of sales at 19.6%.

SG&A expenses net of other income were $126 million an unchanged year-over-year. Lower expenses tied to COVID such as travel and group medical were offset by health and safety costs incurred for the pandemic, strategic spend on technology applications as well as the addition of acquisitions. Also we had almost $5 million of unique other income items in last year's third quarter that did not repeat this year.

All thus resulting in operating profit of $131 million, which is $8 million below last year. I'll discuss the key drivers on the operating profit bridge in a few minutes. Net interest expense of $19 million, was $4 million higher than last year, due to the actions we've taken this year to strengthen our liquidity position, by temporarily holding more cash in lieu of debt repayment.

Income tax expense of $27 million, with $1 million lower than last year driven by a combination of lower pre tax profits offset with a higher effective tax rate. Our third quarter 2020 effective tax rate of 24.1% was 180 basis points higher than the prior year period -- quarter -- prior year quarter, due primarily to various discrete items. So moving down to net income, our third quarter 2020 base earnings were $87 million or $0.86 per share.

And looking at the sales bridge on Slide 5, you see volume mix was lower by $54 million or 4% for the company as a whole. I'll highlight that while our third quarter volumes remained challenge due to COVID-19. The year-over-year volume decline was a meaning improvement from the 6.9% decline in the second quarter. This improvement reflects quarterly sequential demand increases in each of the Protective Solutions, Display and Packaging and Industrial segments.

Consumer packaging segment quarterly volume was down $1 million from the prior year or 30 basis points. We did have nice growth in global rigid paper containers, which saw volumes increased by 2.3%, including 3% higher demand in North America. Within plastics, the prepared and specialty foods market had very strong volume growth at almost 16%, but this was offset by significant weakness in the industrial end-use market. Our flexible business saw a continued negative pandemic impact on demand in the confection market, did a reduce foot traffic in convenience stores and other venues, as well as lower seasonal Halloween volume.

I'll highlight that when we remove the weak volume in our industrial plastics business, our third quarter consumer segment volumes actually grew by 1%. Display and Packaging volume was below last year, down $9 million or 6% due to lower demand in domestic displays, paper amenities and retail security packaging. Volume in Paper and Industrial Converted Products was down $41 million or just over 8% due to weak volumes in our global paper mill network as well as across our tubes, cores and cone operations.

I'll note that this volume decline however was a solid sequential improvement over the 10.4% decline that we had in the second quarter. And finally, sales volume in Protective Solutions was down nearly $3 million or almost 2%, driven mostly by virus related demand weakness.

Moving over to price. You see that selling prices were lower year-over-year by $6 million. This was primarily in our consumer segment, largely driven by resin price declines in our Plastics and Flexibles businesses. Moving to acquisitions, you see an impact on the top line of $30 million from the TEQ and Can Packaging acquisitions in consumer and the Corenso acquisition in our Industrial segment. I'll note that Corenso is included in the acquisitions category for just over one month of the third quarter, since it was acquired in early August of last year.

And finally, foreign exchange and other was negative by $12 million with the largest driver being a $5 million negative impact from foreign exchange translation, due to the stronger dollar. And in addition, this includes about $4 million of lower sales from our exit of certain small operations in the consumer segment.

Moving to the operating profit bridge on Slide 6, and starting with volume mix. Our lower sales volume combined with the impact of mix had a negative impact on operating profit of $17 million, driven primarily by the Industrial segment. Shifting over to price cost, we had $27 million of unfavorable price cost, with about half of this due to non-material inflation. Most of the remaining unfavorable change occurred in our Industrial segment, driven by a combination of higher OCC costs and lower market pricing.

As usual, there is a slide in the appendix that shows recent OCC price trends and you'll see that Southeast OCC prices averaged $70 per ton in the third quarter, which although down from the second quarter of this year was double to $35 per ton average in last year's third quarter. Moving to acquisitions. You see that our Corenso, TEQ and Can Packaging acquisitions contributed $2 million to our third quarter earnings.

Next is the impact of productivity, where you see that our total productivity was a strong $40 million year-over-year. We had solid execution across our productivity levers in materials, shop floor execution, as well as fixed cost all of due to a combination of deliberate cost controls and restructuring benefits. And finally, the change in other was unfavorable by $6 million with various moving pieces.

Moving to Slide 7, you will find our segment analysis, where you see that Consumer Packaging sales were up 40 basis points, driven by the addition of TEQ and Can Packaging, partially offset with a slightly weaker demand, lower prices tied to resin, the exit of certain small operations and negative foreign exchange translation. Consumer segment operating profits increased by almost 20%, primarily driven by strong productivity. Our Consumer segment margin increased to 11.6% versus the 9.8% in the third quarter of last year.

Display and Packaging sales were down almost 5%, mostly due to lower demand. Operating profit however was up almost 21% and margins improved by 170 basis points to 7.8%. The negative earnings impact from the lower demand was more than offset by fixed cost productivity. Our Industrial segment sales fell by over 7%, primarily due to the weak global volumes. Industrials' operating profit declined by 42%. This was a direct result of the significant drop in demand, as well as the much higher OCC market pricing relative to the third quarter of last year. These headwinds were somewhat offset by solid improvements in productivity.

The Industrial segment's operating profit as a percent of sales was 7.5% and nice sequential improvement over 6.9% in the second quarter but lower than the very strong 12% in the third quarter of last year. And finally, although, Protective Solutions sales were flat year-over-year, operating profit increased by 25% due to strong productivity. This segment's margins improved to 13.3% from the prior year's quarter of 10.6%. So for the total company, sales were down approximately 3% and operating profit margin declined slightly to 9.9%.

Moving to cash flow on Slide 8. Our year-to-date third quarter 2020 operating cash flow was $490 million compared with $239 million in the same period of last year, an increase of $251 million. The largest driver to this increase was the $200 million of voluntary pension contributions, which did reduce last year's operating cash flow. Midway down the slide, you see that our current year-to-date increase in net working capital of $16 million was $26 million lower than the increase in the third quarter of last year. Overall, our working capital management has been very solid this year, despite the challenging business environment.

Moving on to free cash flow, which we define as operating cash flow less net capex and dividends. Our free cash flow through the first-nine months of this year was $252 million, an increase of $284 million over the same period of 2019. Excluding the voluntary pension contributions made last year, free cash flow improved by $84 million year-over-year. Net capex spending was $108 million year-to-date, a reduction of $36 million compared to the same period of last year. And finally, our cash dividends paid year-to-date were $129 million compared to $127 million in the prior year period.

On Slide 9, you see that our balance sheet is extremely strong and reflects the cash and debt positioning we did earlier this year in response to the pandemic. Our third quarter 2020 consolidated cash balance of $783 million includes $578 million held in short-term investments that are very liquid and of high credit quality. Moving onto our debt balances. Our consolidated debt totaled $2.14 billion at the end of the third quarter, a decrease of $129 million from the second quarter. These changes in our cash and debt balances during the third quarter reflect debt repayments, the Can Packaging acquisition, and our very strong third quarter cash flow generation.

Moving to Slide 10, you find our base earnings per share guidance which is $0.70 to $0.80 per share for the fourth quarter and $3.29 to $3.39 per share for the full year. This range continues to reflect the ongoing uncertainties regarding the challenging macroeconomic conditions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. You'll also see that we are expecting our full year 2020 operating cash flow to be in a range of $643 million to $663 million and free cash flow to be between $290 million and $310 million. Specific to free cash flow, this updated full year outlook is a solid $40 million improvement over our original guidance provided in February of this year.

Turning to Slide 11, I'll cover some of the key assumptions and circumstances impacting our fourth quarter base earnings guidance. Related to demand and first related to COVID-19, we expect to have a mixed impact on demand for our products with the net impact being slightly negative to earnings compared to the fourth quarter of last year. In addition, our outlook assumes a typical seasonal year end slow down in some of our businesses such as Protective Solutions and Display and Packaging. Howard will provide more comments about our fourth quarter demand outlook in a few minutes. Also, we'll continue our focus on controllable cost reductions in areas such as travel and we expect to continue driving strong productivity results, although, we don't expect our fourth quarter productivity contribution to be as strong as the third quarter.

Moving to our price cost expectations for the fourth quarter. While we forecast that OCC prices will remain stable in the near term, we do expect our industrial segment to have a negative price cost relationship compared to the fourth quarter of last year. We expect this negative earnings impact to be similar to what we experienced in this year's third quarter. Specific to certain non-operational earnings assumptions, we've assumed a third quarter tax rate of 24.8%, which is 160 basis points higher than our 23.2% tax rate last year.

Also, our interest expense will be higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to our increased debt balances that I mentioned a few minutes ago. These two non-operational items combined for an expected $0.03 to $0.05 headwinds versus the fourth quarter of last year. And finally, related to our M&A activity, our fourth quarter guidance includes TEQ, Can Packaging, and Display and Packaging Europe. So while we expect the D&P Europe divestiture to close during the fourth quarter. We don't know the exact timing. So we've kept the results in our guidance. This business is expected to contribute about a $0.01 of EPS per month during the fourth quarter.

On Slide 12, you see the key assumptions underlying our full year cash flow outlook and I'll highlight a few of these. We do continue to take advantage of government assistance programs around the world with most of the impacting here in the US. For full year 2020, we expect these programs to provide us with approximately $35 million of positive cash flow and around $25 million have already been recognized through the third quarter. I will note that most of this cash flow impact will reverse in the next couple of years.

Next, we've adjusted our 2020 capex spending outlook to $180 million from the $195 million we mentioned in July. This outlook continues to include $15 million to $20 million of capital for Project Horizon and Howard will discuss the strategic project more in his comments. We also still plan to defer our voluntary us pension contribution estimated at approximately $150 million and related to the termination process into 2021, but we do have a related $37 million cash tax benefits this year.

And finally, as you see on Slide 13, our current liquidity position is very strong, it was approximately $1.3 billion at the end of the third quarter. This was composed of the $783 million of cash in short-term investments that I just mentioned a few minutes ago, as well as our $500 million revolver availability. Due to our excellent cash generation and stability of the financial markets, we are using $300 million of our excess cash balances to proactively repay certain bank term loans today, as we continue our focus on maintaining an investment grade balance sheet.

So this concludes my review of our third quarter financial results and our outlook for the fourth quarter. So I'll turn it over to Howard.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Julie and good morning, everyone. Let me start by saying really how proud we all are the way our associates continue to respond to the critical needs of our customers during these unprecedented times. During the third quarter, our diverse mix of consumer and industrial related businesses reflected the improved global macroeconomic conditions, coming off of the pandemic induced recession in the second quarter, as we were able to exceed the high end of our bottom line expectations.

Our Consumer Packaging segment produced solid year-over-year improvements, as at-home food demand stabilize from the preceding quarter's pantry stocking, while our Paper and Industrial Converted Product segment experienced improvement sequentially from the prior quarter's lows, reflecting a partial recovery of our global industrial served markets. In addition, our Protective Solutions segment achieved record quarterly results as customer demand rebounded, and our Display and Packaging segment achieved one of the best quarters and more than a decade, really driven by cost reduction activities.

Julie gave you the details for the quarter, so I won't repeat those achievements, but I do want to spend the bulk of my comments highlighting actions we're taking to further improve our businesses. When I first spoke with you in February, I told you, we have been initiating an increased sense of urgency to tackle some of the lingering issues that have an impact in our results.

Our first area of focus was addressing our corrugated medium machine in Hartsville. And as you're aware Sonoco is the small independent producer of medium and it made no sense long term for us to remain in this market. As a result, our team engineered which you're familiar with Project Horizon to convert the medium machine into a 180,000 ton per year uncoated recycled paperboard machine. When completed in early 2022, two of these machine will be one of the largest and most cost effective European machines in the world.

While we are well into design and engineering of this important project, our team has determined we can drive additional cost savings by modernizing and optimizing our raw material and finished goods handling for the entire Hartsville mill complex. As a result, we plan to spend an additional $30 million over the next two years to construct new paper all finishing and packaging capabilities, construct a new 160,000 square foot finished goods warehouse to eliminate all site storage and transportation and provide for a 150,000 square foot storage area to accommodate a 100% of our OCC furnished for the entire mill complex.

When completed in 2022 these projects are expected to drive an incremental $5 million in savings. So, combined with the original $83 million calls for Project Horizon, we now expect to invest a total of $113 million over the next two years to drive and combined $29 million in annual savings and of course, with returns well above the cost of capital. You probably heard me say that I'm a strong believer and looking in the mirror what rather than looking out the window. What I mean by this is, we believe we can achieve greater success by investing in ourselves. We believe that investing in this extended Project Horizon can create significant long-term value.

Next on our list has been to address the issues we faced in our perimeter of the store operations on the West Coast. Based on the experience we have gained over the last few years and the need to adjust for changing market conditions, we have made the decision to consolidate three of our thermoforming converting operations into a single focused plan serving the fresh berry and whole fruit markets across the West Coast and into Mexico. Logistically, we will be relocating equipment from our facilities in Mexico and Washington state primarily into our larger Southern California operation.

As Julie mentioned, total estimated restructuring costs will be approximately $18 million and as you've heard, we have recognized most of that in the third quarter. And once completed, our expectation run rate savings will be approximately $10 million to $12 million. We will continue to serve our West Coast and Mexico base customers as well as expand our capabilities to support the growing fresh egg market by redeploying resources both in California and into our operations in Florida.

For some time we have discussed the need to optimize our portfolio and we took action in a few weeks ago to progress our increased focus on our core consumer and industrial related businesses by signing an agreement to divest our European contract packaging business for $120 million in cash. Sonoco built this business from scratch over the past 20 years to serve global CPGs, with custom packaging and supply chain management services throughout Europe and into the Middle East, Africa and Asia. This business has grown to nearly $300 million in sales, with 2,600 employees, but the nature of the business produced margins that are lower than most of our consumer and industrial converting operations. In fact, if you remove the business from our financial results, our overall EBITDA margin improves by approximately 40 basis points.

I want to thank our dedicated management team and employees, and our contract packaging operation in Poland for their contributions to Sonoco and wish them all the best with their new owners. We expect the transaction to close during this quarter and we expect to use the proceeds to reduce debt while providing additional capital to invest in our core businesses.

Also during the third quarter, we completed the acquisition of Can Packaging, a technology driven designer and manufacturer of sustainable paper packaging and related manufacturing equipment located in France. This acquisition provides us a new option to our paperboard camp portfolio, including patent to technology to produce high performance, paper packaging that can be made round, square, rectangular, oval, oblong or even triangular.

Adding Can Packaging innovation intellectual property and for priority and manufacturing capabilities will allow Sonoco to leverage our strong material science and engineering capabilities to develop a paper packaging solutions designed to meet the needs of demanding products and supply chains across a variety of markets. We also using -- see using Can Packagings unique low-cost machine technology to expand our consumer products offering into other growth markets.

Now looking ahead for the fourth quarter. We have seen the global macroeconomic conditions will remain relatively stable and that our customers demand will experience a normal year end slow down.

On Slide 14 of our presentation, we show you how we believe our businesses will respond to current market conditions. So looking ahead, we expect our Consumer Packaging segment will continue to benefit for consumers at home eating patterns. Our industrial related served markets are expected to experience weak year-over-year demand, but we do expect these markets continue to show gradual sequential improvement.

As Julie mentioned our Paper and Industrial Converted Product segment should continue facing a negative price cost headwind during the fourth quarter due to higher year-over-year recycled fiber cost, and lower market pricing and we expect OCC prices to remain relatively stable. I mentioned we announced this week, a $50 it's on price increase for uncoated recycled paperboard in the US and Canada, effective November 16.

We are experiencing significantly longer backlogs in our mill system and inventories are lower than normal. In fact, we put off a scheduled outage this month to continued running to meet demand. In addition, we are seeing inflation of input cost driven by a much higher freight and paper making chemical calls. So this price relief is important to keep up with our customers' needs.

We're extremely pleased by the strong third quarter turnaround and our Protective Solutions business and we believe improved demand should continue into the fourth quarter especially in our pharmaceutical and appliance served market. While we do not yet know the role, we may play in the potential cold chain transportation of future FDA approved COVID vaccines and therapeutics. Our industry-leading pharmacy temperature packaging exports, stand ready to assist in the much-anticipated launch of new lifesaving medicines.

Finally, in our Display and Packaging segment, we expect to experience continued slow demand for retail promotional display activity, but the related impact of operating profit should be mitigated by continued cost controls. While we have not fully recovered from the pandemic induced recession, we continue to see gradual improvement. I'm extremely pleased with how our teams are executing and delivering strong earnings and cash flow during this challenging time.

Finally, I'm more confident than ever that Sonoco is poised to emerge as a stronger, more resilient company positioned to general solid returns for our shareholders.

Now with that, operator, would you please review the question and answer procedure.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from George Staphos with Bank of America. You may proceed with your question.

George Staphos -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Hi, everyone. Good morning. Thank you for all the details. I guess, the first question that I had, you mentioned some of the puts and takes within the consumer segment in the third quarter. Howard, how did your customers run during the quarter, were there any supply chain issues looking at the front end that might have helped or may be impaired your ability to generate volume in the quarter? And what's the outlook on that flow through to retail at the present time?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

George, our customer frankly to the court around well. We certainly saw some disruptions in the second quarter, but really no issues there at all. That I can think of Roger, do you have anything to add to that. No. Thanks again. The shock of Q2 has been recovered and folks seem to be managing through it fairly, fairly well.

George Staphos -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks for that. Howard. The next question I had is on PICP in industrial, obviously, the pandemic had a pretty big negative effect on you this year. Kudos to you and the team on the productivity there, and frankly across the whole organization. What would you need to see if we had a crystal ball that was perfectly accurate. What would we need to see in terms of macro or demand or whatever else you choose to put into this for Paper and Industrial Converted products to be up year-on-year in EBIT in '21 versus '20 and for that matter, comparable with '19? What would have to happen and related point, do you have the price increases that you're out with today any benefit at all, I wouldn't imagine so, but any of that built into your guidance for fourth quarter?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Thanks, George. I guess, what we need to be happen, first off, frankly, we're seeing it on -- particularly here in North America as it relates to the paper business. As I noted, we are our experienced backlogs, not only on the Euro-based side of the business from the number 10. So it's certainly not a volume question as it relates to the paper side of the business. And I'm going to jump ahead and talk about the price increase. Now we didn't build anything really into the quarter based on the timing of the yield, but that would be the second component to your first question for the paper side of the business. So we're feeling pretty good as we finish out the year and go into next year.

On the tubes and core side, you really got to look inside the quarter to see the sequential improvements certainly quarter-over-quarter, but we're seeing month-over-month. So frankly, we will just need to see that continued pace of ramp up and if it was to continue at the type of rates that we saw at the -- from the second half of last quarter onwards. We could be fairly close to the areas that you're talking about within the first quarter of next year maybe end of the second, but there's a lot of caveats obviously built around that side of it. But Roger unless you've got any.

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

No, I think you covered, Howard, I think. George, sequentially, we saw improvement in our tube and core business the film tape segment textile every month of the quarter. And the same for the paper segment, every month of the quarter we saw improved output. We saw higher unmade orders. And if you look at operating margins for the Industrial segment, it improved from July to August and improved from August to September and we expect that to continue in October.

George Staphos -- Bank of America -- Analyst

And last one, I'll turn it over, thanks. If you think about how COVID and the vaccine might affect the business. I know it's too early to call, I know, there'd be a lot of -- there would be very, very wide guard rails around this, but in the scenarios as you thought about them calculated and painted them what could a vaccine do for Sonoco on an annualized basis within protective? Thank you, guys.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We run, first off, we have for sometime, basically from the beginning, have been working very closely with our customers to make sure that we have available capacity and we're preparing -- we are prepared for that. And of course, we have run various scenarios in terms of, of what it could mean to us. And I'm not sure at this point in time, we know enough to actually throw a number out there because there is such a wide range, it just really depends on -- is the solution, an existing customer that were predominant, or 100% supply, that's a beautiful thing to think about on the high side, but it could be a solution that is not a customer, but our expectations are based on the high level of global demand, that no matter who comes up with the solution that they will have to engage across the supply side to ensure that the demand requirements are met.

George Staphos -- Bank of America -- Analyst

So how much would you increase your capacity?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Roger why don't you jump in all now.

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Yeah, George. What I'd tell you is, obviously, we've got great experience already delivering high volume vaccines. We do over half of these seasonal flu vaccine in the US every year. This year, we're seeing a spike of about 30%. So we're going through that season now. We're about halfway through that season. At the end of the third quarter, will finish it up in the next, let's call it 30 to 45 days. The nice part about the COVID vaccines coming in as seasonally they'll be starting to really drive through our system we think and in mid-first quarter all through second quarter so seasonally the vaccines the seasonal factor that's the slow season for the seasonal vaccines. So we've got existing capacity ready for these six customers and we're meeting with many of them today talking about where can we go ahead and upfront add capacity. So it's hard to give you an exact number, except to say we're working closely with all of them and trying to be as prepared as possible for the necessary capacity once we're ready to roll out the vaccine.

George Staphos -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Thank you very much guys.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Mark Wilde with Bank of Montreal. You may proceed with your question.

Mark Wilde -- Bank of Montreal -- Analyst

Great. Thanks, Howard. Good morning. Howard, I wanted to just start off, if we could talk about the decision to just hold the dividend flat. I think probably the whole time you've been working at Sonoco, the dividends gone up every year. So if you just provide us a little color on kind of how you and the Board thought about the decision?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we are -- I guess maybe the easiest way to say just a bit of extra precaution as we go into the fourth quarter. And if you're talking about the year-over-year, we did -- I think, but we're not doing now, we are planning to take a hard look at it in February. And if we take action in February, we maintain that annual year-over-year increase. So we just felt like at this time, let's operate with an abundance of caution and revisit this in our February Board meeting.

Mark Wilde -- Bank of Montreal -- Analyst

Okay. And then secondly, I wondered without getting too kind of granular on the call. Just the potential for any kind of further portfolio moves in the wake of the European display sale?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. And thank you for pointing out non-granular. We're certainly looking at -- continue to challenge our portfolio, we see opportunities and that works in progress.

Mark Wilde -- Bank of Montreal -- Analyst

Okay. And then, the last one I want to ask is, just you know if you've given any thought to kind of improving the effectiveness of the company in terms of M&A capital. It's just, it seems like over the last 30 years, you've spent a lot of money on various forms of consumer packaging, but if we step back and look at the company today, the biggest piece of Consumer Packaging is probably still the legacy composite Can business where you've not only grown the core, but you've added things like this deal you just did in France or that deal you did over in Europe about four, five years ago.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Where we're absolutely, I think I've mentioned to most of you certainly individually, maybe even on previous call, but we've been going through our strategic planning process. And part of that is talking about just what you're suggesting going back in time looking at what has been successful for the company may be some things that not so, but let's start worth to say that one walk away if outside of the cleaning up of some businesses that you noted earlier, we feel like we've got a fairly solid foundation. We don't need to add any more capabilities, if you will from an acquisitive perspective.

And the real takeaway from the early view of our strategic plan reviews, I spoke to -- during my comments and that's looking in the mirror before you look out the window. And one of the things we're seeing is that we've got, as our business units come to us and say, feed may more capital. I've got more returns to deliver our owners, our shareholders and we can actually generate even organic growth and businesses otherwise maybe previously we thought not. So that's what we're going to get into that conversation about investing in yourself and we recognize, that's where the highest level of returns that correlates to our team coming to us from the paper division saying give us $30 million more and we can improve the flow this complex and generate a really nice returns.

So sorry for being long-winded, it's to say acquisitions are going to be important to us that they're going to be relative to them -- to the markets and the products that we produce today, but you're going to hear from us over time that we're going to spend on a lot more activity and dollars around improving the foundation of this business.

Mark Wilde -- Bank of Montreal -- Analyst

Okay, very good. Thank you. I'll turn it over.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Gabe Hajde with Wells Fargo. You may proceed with your question.

Gabe Hajde -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Good morning. Thanks for taking the question. I just -- two quick ones, as it relates to Project Horizon. I just want to confirm, Howard, that you're not in fact adding any additional capacity or freeing anything up, this is more about I guess improving efficiencies. Ad then you and the industry has done a pretty good job or some heavy lifting in terms of keeping supply demand and balance and more recently, we heard of someone adding a little bit of capacity? And the URB side, I'm just curious if you're still kind of looking across your platform to further optimize, or if a lot of that work is already been done.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Gabe. Yeah. Project -- second phase Project Horizon the -- basically two different projects. We've got 100-year-old mill complex and I'm not going to try to explain to you the inefficiencies that we have in terms of how we're handling raw materials and the finished goods. But it's all about what you said, it's a step-up change in terms of efficiencies, not just related to the number term, but the machine, but to all of the conflict. Yeah. Aware of that new capacity is coming in the market, but we are going to continue to challenge our output and our footprint on the URB side.

But it's more related to what we've done over the last, call it, four plus years, where we have many of you will remember [Indecipherable] project where we increased capacity in our best machines and took out capacity, while keeping the market relatively stable. Of course, the same conversation around Project Horizon. New capacity coming into the market, look that's the whole point. We're positioned in ourselves as low cost producer. We're going to be the strongest player in this market and if others want to come into the market, so be it, but we're very confident that we're going to be able to, to be highly, highly competitive going forward. And yes, we are going to continue to challenge, how do we become that much more efficient in everything we do.

Gabe Hajde -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Thank you for that. And Julie maybe on the recent divestiture announcement now I appreciate that there is some timing associated with it. But assuming you kind of redirected capital, I think you said to kind of pay down debt. Can you give us a directional ballpark, I think you said a $0.01 per month, but just what the net impact might look like for next year on a bottom line basis or something?

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Sure, Gabe. Yeah. The full year kind of estimated EPS impact of D&P Europe is around $0.15. So that's what we would expect kind of full year '22 full year to full year '21 roughly.

Gabe Hajde -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Steve Chercover with DA Davidson. You may proceed with your question.

Steve Chercover -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

Thanks. A couple of mine have already been answered, but there is a new company that's making a bit of a splash in biodegradable plastic packaging. And I'm just wondering how hotly you're pursuing biodegradable plastics for some of your perimeter of the store applications.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, not necessarily. There is so much news about so emerging technologies here, not completely aware of the company you're referencing. But from my perspective and our real focus from the stores is PET. It's the our PET content going into the package and what we're spending a lot of our time and effort is ensuring that first and foremost that folks understand that, that a berry tray is recyclable as a water bottle in fact its components and been built off of recycled water bottles. And so we're spending more time in terms of educating and participating with the industry to ensure that folks recognize that.

And I'll add knowledge you bring the topic, I'm really pleased we have announced really last week that we now have for the first time ever, [Indecipherable] President, Head of Global Sustainability reporting into me to really help organize all our efforts around all our formats within our company. And just to put a plug in an envelope with a throw and then with this company for 15 years and a superstar, I'm really looking forward to her contributions and further position ourselves as a sustainable company.

Steve Chercover -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

We will not to be argumentative, but I think the knock on plastic is that we know it's recyclable and we know that the overwhelming majority isn't being recycled and that's why people are excited about the biodegradable element.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Fair enough. But it's, that's what the industry is working on right now is to get that message out and make sure that the collection programs are in place to increase the amount of material that is coming back into the system versus on the landfill, but don't disagree. If there is a holy grail in terms of the fully biodegradable that's something to be looked at.

Steve Chercover -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

Okay. And one quick clarification from Julie please. So if the European packaging or contract packaging is a $0.01 per month. Then how is the impact in 2021, $0.15 I thought would be less than $0.12 assuming you pay down some debt.

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Well, and -- I was really focus more on the kind of operating profit after tax impact of that business. There is some seasonality, I think as you know in the displays business and so the fourth quarter is generally slightly lower than other particular quarters during the year for that business.

Steve Chercover -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks, guys.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Salvator Tiano with Seaport Global. You may proceed with your questions.

Salvator Tiano -- Seaport Global -- Analyst

Yes. Hi. Thanks for taking my questions. So first, a little bit on the -- on your capital structure and capital allocation. Obviously, you raised some debt does many other did in Q2 due to COVID uncertainty, but you seem to be paying these quite slowly even though on a net debt basis, I see quarter-to-quarter, you keep on delivering. So what is the rationale for maintaining most of this debt even after the $300 million you just mentioned on your balance sheet at this point, do you see, for example, any near-term, I mean the opportunities that could present themselves and you should be ready to add that?

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Hey, Sal. It's Julie. Yeah, I mean, I guess, we did repay in the second quarter, I'm sorry, early in the third quarter, July $150 million term loan, and I mentioned in my comments, we're actually we're paying another $300 million of bank term loans today, just drawing down excess cash and I wouldn't be surprised depending on -- based on what I know today, if we're not, we repaid all of our short-term prepayable debt by the end of this year. So we are, we wanted to see how the third quarter came through. We're extremely pleased with the results of the business and especially the cash flow generation, which again is driving this $300 million today. And again, I expect more debt repayment in the fourth quarter.

At that point, I mean, again, we've repaid our short-term debt and we've mentioned for next year. We do have spend for Project Horizon. We have our pension termination related contribution. And so in addition to potential acquisitions, we do have some kind of call it invest in ourselves higher spend next year that we're also planning for. So all of that comes into play when we look at our cash and debt.

Salvator Tiano -- Seaport Global -- Analyst

Okay. Perfect. Thank you very much. And my second question is a little bit on the $50 price increase. If you can remind us of how you came out also with the tube and core price increase, and if you kind of remind us within your 1 million ton North America system. How many tonnes of open market URB to be sales and converted tube and core sales have been affected by what you announced? And what other pricing mechanisms you have in place?

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Yeah, Sal. It's Roger. In round numbers, in both our paper and our tube and core business, about 50% or so of our price change mechanisms moves up move off the resi tan bending chip index probably about 25% or so move off OCC and another 25% are open market. So as you look at price increases for both paper and tube and core what you need to think about is, what can we do in the open market, so it's about 25% of the volume. And then, when does resi move to tan bending chip index, which is totally up to that organization as we go forward. So that's why we built in a minor amount of price impact into the fourth quarter, but more the impact will come in starting in the first quarter of next year.

Operator

Okay. Thank you. Our next question comes from Adam Josephson with KeyBanc. You may proceed with your question.

Adam Josephson -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning, everyone.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Adam Josephson -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Howard, it seems like the confection market is a need of some help. So I hope you and everyone else there is planning to do your part this Halloween season?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I hope I'm in. Yeah. Thanks again, and hoping, yes, thanks for getting that out, get that message out.

Adam Josephson -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

One more on the portfolio, Howard. So I know you're selling the European display business, but just more broadly, tell me if you disagree, but I think Sonoco's viewed as to somewhat of a hybrid and that you have many defensive characteristics, the balance sheets, dividend, the consumer business. But you have some cyclical aspects as well, notably, the Paper and Industrial business. So you don't fit in a neat bucket either by Sonoco and our Armageddon scenario or by Sonoco in some reflationary economic recovery scenario. And I'm just wondering if, how, if at all, you think that affects the multiple at which you trade versus your competitors. If you think there are misperceptions in terms of where you fit in a portfolio etc. And just, if you're satisfied with the stock's performance given what you're your earnings performance has been in recent quarters and years for that matter?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Adam. Of course, no, I'm not satisfied with our stock performance. And to your point, first off, when we talk about kind of the portfolio, there are some outliers that, that I think most of you even recognize that we're working on. But if you talk on the broad perspective, it has been a long-standing strategy of the company that we participate on the consumer side of the market and on the industrial side of the market. And what that has done and you can go back in time period after period in terms of situations just like what we went through and are going through right now, where you see a good balance in terms of strength on the consumer side, that is able to overcome weaknesses.

So, in fact, it's kind of built into our entire thesis is that we are a company you can invest in and we can pretty much guarantee your consistency throughout the good times and the bad times. It's got a balance sheet that reflects that. And as Mark pointed out, a record and paying dividends. We feel like these are all the things that are extremely important to the owners of the company, our investors. And so, we are absolutely going to continue maintaining that balance.

But I do want to point out again that on the industrial side of the business, if you go back to the last recession, our EBIT margins were vastly different than they are today and if you think about the amount of self-help that we put in terms of improving our operations. We feel like we've created a new floors we're walking around this 7% type range and that we should get that business back in normal times to that double-digit, low double-digit time space. The strategy is the strategy and we're going to clean it up, but we're going to continue to invest, so that we can improve the returns on these foundational businesses.

Adam Josephson -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

I appreciate that, Howard. And Roger, just one for you back to that, the paper backlog in North America, etc. So I think what you said was that there is gradual improvement -- demand improvement throughout the quarter, but you found yourself in a position in which you have very low inventories such that I believe you said you're actually having to postpone maintenance outage. So I just, I guess I don't quite understand, if it was gradual improvement why you would have found yourselves short of inventory. And so can you just talk about, again the pace at which demand got that, or was there a sharp recovery say in September or was it really in fact gradual. What you think is driving this improvement? And particularly, just given the resurgence of COVID cases throughout the country, are you at all surprised by the demand recovery, you are seeing? Thank you.

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Yeah, Adam. Thanks. Yeah, I don't know, if I say gradual certainly, there is gradual and it's even core side of our business and again, I think the tube and core volumes for the fourth quarter will look a lot like the third quarter. What we're seeing is pretty, pretty fast improvement substantial improvement in unmade orders starting really in July 1 and an expanded each month throughout the quarter. Resi reported the unmade orders for September, they were the highest since January. October, you must see a higher number, I'm sure, which should be hot, the highest since some time last year.

We're turning away orders, a lot of it is, you're seeing the pickup in economic activity. So our specialty category for four aligners external tube and core volumes, very strong. So where we surprised -- a little surprised about how fast it came on, but I think the fact is, it looks like it's going to stick and it seems that expand every day and every week. So that's kind of where we are today. So yes, the pick up is quick as it happens surprise us, but as far as we're concerned, it looks like it will last through the cycle again.

Adam Josephson -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks, Roger.

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Ghansham Panjabi with Baird. You may proceed with your question.

Ghansham Panjabi -- Baird -- Analyst

Hi, guys. Thanks for fitting me in. I guess just as a follow-up to Adam's question on Paper and Industrial. So, your volumes were down 10% in 2Q, just kind of rounding a little bit and 8% in 3Q. And how should we expect that progression over the next, I don't know three quarters. And the reason I ask is, because obviously 2Q was impacted by the shutdown etc. And a lot of other companies that have industrial exposure have commented on a more significant recovery sequentially and what you showed?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Again sequentially, I mean, if you even look outside of our industrial businesses, I mean, you think about our consumer businesses, and the sharp turnaround there so and some of what you might classify as other markets outside of industrial, we're seeing that. But yeah, we're seeing sequentially for paper, we're only giving going so far for the fourth quarter. So, we are seeing that strength really pick-up. Tube and core, again, I think you will see flat in the fourth quarter. So, at this point, I think as far as we can see, those paper volumes remain extremely strong. Yeah. I mean, I can get pretty direct, and just say, as we modeled our Q4 Ghansham that you noted the 10% -- 8% last, we are -- I'll just stay remodeling to about a 5% for Q4. So, that's inclusive of exactly what Rodger talked about with improvement and paper and tube and core as well.

Ghansham Panjabi -- Baird -- Analyst

Okay, terrific. And then on consumer, can you just remind us how big industrial plastics is, as a percentage of that segment? How much was it down in 3Q? And then the same for flexibles as well. How much was flexibles down in the quarter? Yeah, I'm sorry, if I missed that you already said it.

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. This is Julie. The industrial business is -- it is...

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

$130 million in annual sales. For the quarter, it impacts us on a volume basis, around $7 million. So again, it was fairly substantial impact to that the plastic space. And as Julie mentioned, if you look at our overall consumer volumes that actually added about 4% in terms of our volumes. So again that kind of shows the impact of that one particular component. Again, kind of offset really strong performance and some of our pure consumer related plastic businesses.

Maybe switching deflectables, we were a little bit lower for the year. And again, as Rodger mentioned, that was principally driven by confectionery being down what it was. The other businesses did fairly well. But again, when you are having people not buying, those sweets that they normally like to get when they are in and out of convenience stores or traveling, as well as the slower build that we see for Halloween this year, that had that negative impact.

Ghansham Panjabi -- Baird -- Analyst

Okay. And then just one final one, maybe for Julie is, can you quantify the temporary savings that you experienced in 3Q that may now repeat going forward? What was the dollar amount of that?

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Our travel, just as an example, was down about $6 million year-over-year. I think what is interesting is, there are costs that are down specific to the pandemic. And our group medical is another kind of $1 million or $2 million. [Phonetic] So, then you have got the reality that, unfortunately, incentives are down as well. And so there are various, costs that are lower, so I'd call it in the, kind of maybe $10 million or so.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

And, again, I hope some offsets Ghansham is, as we talked about, there are increased costs, because of, we are having to make sure that our employees are in a safe environment. And that's so we are having to increase additional cost as well, which we don't remove from our discussion.

Ghansham Panjabi -- Baird -- Analyst

Okay. That's a good point. Thanks so much.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Josh Spector with UBS. You may proceed with your question.

Josh Spector -- UBS -- Analyst

Hey, everyone. Thanks for squeezing me in here. Maybe a build from that prior question is just if you look at the productivity that you guys have done year-to-date, and your comments about your expectations around fourth quarter, you are probably looking at maybe $100 million, $110 million or so in productivity this year. Basically above what you guys have done in the prior years, I guess, if you would have bridged into next year and assume a modest volume recovery, how much productivity should we expect it to next year or how much give that from this year would you expect?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. It is pretty hard to say, therefore I'm going to hand it over to Julie on specifics. But I appreciate you bringing that up, if productivity has been really critical to our performance this year, and it is across the board. And I just have to give recognition to the fact of how much energy we put in over the last three, four, five years as relates to procurement organizations or SBS [Phonetic] operational and direct investments. So, it is amazing, really as we watch these volumes start to slide back in that we are starting to see what we really are able to do a lot more with less. But Julie as it relates to next...

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Sure. I'm looking at 2019, we delivered close to $50 million in productivity. And, you are right, this year I think we will easily be above $100 million. So, I think for next year, in between those two, when you look across supply chain, fixed costs, efficiencies in the factories again -- yeah, we have been really doing a lot of restructuring, as you have probably noticed this year, taking out unnecessary costs, that we will be able to leverage more as those businesses as volumes increase. So I think it is reasonable to assume next year lands basically between 2019 and 2020.

Josh Spector -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay. So you would expect incrementally productivity to be additive to growth next year, and there is not really a headwind we should consider for some of the temporary items. Is that fair?

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. Absolutely. When you look back at our history, I mean, we generate productivity every year across the different kind of levers that we focused on. And so absolutely, we would expect continued contributions from productivity next year.

Josh Spector -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks. Yeah, that's clear end. One another around the Can Packaging acquisition, what was interesting you talked about that expanding into maybe other higher growth markets outside of consumer markets. I was just curious, what markets would that acquisition allow you to target? And why is it now that you can target those market with that acquisition versus what you had prior?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Let me -- this is Howard, clarify. Definition of markets and in my comments were really around geographic. One of the things that this brings with this is unique machine -- building capabilities that are small footprint, low cost relatively lower volumes. It is a different model than Sonoco has traditionally add. So it is now affording us the opportunity to go and to expand. We are already in Brazil, but to go into Brazil, go into China, deeper Southeast Asia, and bringing a lower cost that differentiated product to those types of markets. And we are seeing a lot of pent up demand for just that. So when I said markets, it really meant geographies.

Josh Spector -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Brian Maguire with Goldman Sachs. You may proceed with your question.

Brian Maguire -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Yeah. Thanks. I know we are going late. So I will try and keep it quick. Just wondered on general inflation what trends you are seeing, I think there is some concern around freight moving higher. And then, with regards to resin any impact in 3Q from resin lag and any expectations or we may see in 4Q there?

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Yeah, Brian. Its Rodger. I think as we look at Q4 on resin. We are expecting about a 3% or so increase. As you know, just a reminder, we move typically quarterly, so small headwind in the third quarter. And we will see how that plays out next year. There are projections for up to 5% to 7% next year, but we will have to see that. The bigger area we are watching is freight. We are seeing our freight cost increase month-over-month. Not so much fourth quarter, but as we look at next year as we renegotiate contracts, that is an area we really got a strong eye on and an area that we are seeing across the board. And I'm sure other companies are seeing that freight increase coming for 2021.

Brian Maguire -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Okay. And just last real quick, I think you mentioned the number 10 machine, that backlogs have improved a lot, I'm guessing you have probably swung everything back over to corrugated medium from recycled pulp and to just kind of confirm that given how tight that market is? And just any thoughts on maybe suggesting the timing of the conversion of that machine to kind of take advantage of the more improved economics and outlook for corrugated in the near-term?

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Brian, it is Rodger. Just a very small amount of pulp on that machine for the fourth quarter some commitments we have made. Otherwise, we would have stripped it out. We stripped all the pulp out of our URB system. And really no changes to timing on Project Horizon. That timing is determined by equipment costs, contractor costs. So we really can't pull that up. But at this point, very little pulp sales at all coming out in the fourth quarter.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. In horizon or the number 10 conversion, I guess the first phase is putting in a new pulping process, which we expect to have that in and feeding the whole network. And as a reminder, that is modern day can handle along next extremely well. That's going to go in probably late next summer. And then we are going to -- plan today is to take the machine down itself in December, have it up in running early January of 2022. And you will see a ramp up period during the first quarter of 2022.

Brian Maguire -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks. Very clear. All right. Appreciate it. Take care.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from George Staphos with Bank of America. You may proceed with your question.

George Staphos -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Hi, guys. Thanks for taking the follow-on and real quickly to conclude for me. We talked about portfolio, we talked about productivity, you talked Howard about looking in the mirror as opposed to looking out the window. When we look out to '21 and then choose whatever year '22, '23. Do you have a return on capital goal an increase in return on capital 200 basis points, 300 basis points whatever that might be? The context in the past, you said the margin targets not a strategy. What about trying to grow return on capital given the history of the company where returns have been generally trending over the last 10 years? Thanks guys, good luck in the quarter.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, George. I would say that do we have a specific goal set at this point? No. Well, we are evaluating each opportunity, each project and its own merits. So to be perfectly fair, we are building the process right now and we will let you know, you guys know exactly what we will be looking at on an annualized basis, as we start rack and stacking all of the opportunities we have got in front of us, but we can certainly expect to be flat to accretive.

George Staphos -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Okay. That's helpful. Thank you, Howard.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Salvator Tiano with Seaport Global. You may proceed with your question.

Salvator Tiano -- Seaport Global -- Analyst

Yeah. Sorry. Thank you very much for taking my follow-up. Quickly, we will be seen by some of the producers of food cans, both in Europe, but also in the US. They have been commenting that their customers are commissioning higher plantings, because they are trying to have more food cans in their portfolio. Could this approach essentially cannibalize some of your fruit and vegetable sales next summer?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. It's really hard to say at this point in time. I wouldn't expect that, frankly, the categories that we are participating in, particularly can strawberries, I don't know if that's going to really be a big winner in the market as oppose to fresh. And that's the categories that we are in. We are talking about salads, berries. I can certainly see, if you are talking about can corns and other products, that statement would hold true, but I really don't think it's going to play any bearing on the size of the market that we participate in.

Salvator Tiano -- Seaport Global -- Analyst

Yeah. Certainly, I mean shipping from strawberries or whatever other plantings that will benefit you to other fruits and vegetables being planted that traditionally would go to food cans. That was the -- I guess the concern.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So really we don't anticipate any issues there.

Salvator Tiano -- Seaport Global -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you very much.

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Adam Josephson with KeyBanc. You may proceed with your question.

Adam Josephson -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Thanks, everyone for taking my follow-up. For Howard or Roger, just on OCC, I don't think anyone has asked about it. I think you said that you don't expect prices to go anywhere, anytime soon, just appreciating they are already below average. What do you think happens now that -- now that China's ban is about to go into effect? How do you expect China to supply itself with fiber? What does that mean for their imports of containerboard either from the US or Europe or elsewhere? And how do you expect that situation to play out over the next several months and years for that matter? And what impact, if any, do you think it could have for you guys?

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Adam, as we talked about in the short-term, you have China -- China developed market, they are not going to have their permits next year. All the puts and takes, therefore we feel like OCC is going to stay relatively flat for the foreseeable future. As it relates, how it plays out in the long-term, you are certainly are aware and saying all the investments that the Chinese companies have made, not only here in North America, but globally. And so I think what we are going to start saying more and more of is diversions of a OCC, European OCC into pulping type operations to keep these mills filled and we will have to play that out in terms of how that tightens the market up and the cost implications of that.

The other side of it is, has been noted several times during the call that we and others have participated in producing pulp when it makes sense to keep our mills running and it is just going to be interesting to see, I don't have the answer as that, as we become and the market becomes tighter, what is the price implications as China continues to work of that pulp as China continues to work out their long-term supply plans. So, really don't have a straight answer for you, frankly, never had when it relates to OCC and I think I want to talk about that with Roger, if you would ask about OCC. [Speech Overlap]

Adam Josephson -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Thanks a lot, Howard. Best of luck in the quarter.

Operator

Thank you. And I'm not showing any further questions at this time. I would now like to turn the call back over to Roger Schrum for any further remarks.

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Again, thank you all for staying with us and we appreciate your questions. We certainly also like your interest in the company. As always, if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 78 minutes

Call participants:

Roger P. Schrum -- Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs

Julie Albrecht -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Howard Coker -- President and Chief Executive Officer

George Staphos -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Mark Wilde -- Bank of Montreal -- Analyst

Gabe Hajde -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Steve Chercover -- DA Davidson -- Analyst

Salvator Tiano -- Seaport Global -- Analyst

Adam Josephson -- KeyBanc -- Analyst

Ghansham Panjabi -- Baird -- Analyst

Josh Spector -- UBS -- Analyst

Brian Maguire -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

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