Resolute Forest Products recently reported net income for the quarter ended March 31 of $87 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, compared to net loss of $1 million, or $0.01 per share, in the same period in 2020. Sales were $873 million in the quarter, an increase of $184 million from the year-ago period. Excluding special items, the company reported net income of $119 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $29 million, or $0.33 per share, in the first quarter of 2020.
"This has been a very good quarter for our strong and growing wood products business as the lumber tailwind continues," said Remi G. Lalonde, president and chief executive officer. "We are making good progress with the ramp-up at our El Dorado (Arkansas) and Ignace (Ontario) sawmills, both of which are now running on two-shifts, helping to increase production in favorable markets. Our balance sheet got stronger and our business more competitive this quarter with the timely refinancing and deleveraging of our senior notes, the refresh of our senior secured credit facility and the approximately $30 million in annual free cash flow improvement once the implementation guidance for U.S. pension relief measures take effect. These moves will support our progress as we continue to accelerate our evolution to generate long-term value for shareholders and to drive sustainable economic activity in the communities where we operate."
During the first quarter, Resolute announced its commitment to reduce absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (scope 1 and 2) by 30% against 2015 levels by 2025. This new target builds on the company's 83% reduction in absolute GHG emissions from year-2000 levels, two-thirds of which reflect reductions in emission intensity.