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Orchids Paper Products sees a blooming future

BY RICHARD MIZE Published: November 15, 2009
PRYOR — Oklahoma Inc.’s No. 2 is on a roll.

Orchids Paper Products, the second best performing publicly traded company in Oklahoma in 2009, has hardly had a misstep since going public in 2005.

The maker of bathroom tissue, paper towels and napkins debuted on the list at No. 25 in 2007 and jumped to No. 5 in 2008 before landing in the No. 2 spot this time based on a year’s worth of data ending June 30.

The company is on several rolls, in fact, from the huge "parent rolls” of bulk tissue paper produced in a plant on one side of Mid America Industrial Park’s Hunt Street, to the converter plant on the other side, where the big rolls are converted into products that are sold under private store labels.

Private labels are why probably few people outside of Pryor have heard of Orchids. They’ve heard of Wal-Mart, Dollar General and Family Dollar stores, though — Orchids’ three main customers, which sell its products under their store brands.

Business has been good for Orchids, which ships to stores within 900 miles of Pryor, especially with the recession sending more people to discount stores for staples like bathroom tissue and paper towels.

Orchids, which trades under the ticker symbol TIS on the American Stock Exchange, saw its earnings per share rise 185 percent over the year ending June 30. Revenues rose 16.2 percent and total return increased 160.46 percent over the same period.

Orchids employs about 300 people now and plans to add 55 or so after a $27 million expansion, said Robert A. Snyder, president and CEO. Construction on a new warehouse and second converter line started this fall, and ought to be complete by next summer with shipping by fall 2010, he said.

The second converter plant will increase production capacity by 50 percent to 60 percent and allow Orchids to expand into higher-level segments of the private-label tissue market, said Keith R. Schroeder, chief financial officer.

The expansion will bring "a real leap of quality and a higher-end product,” he said, and will add flexibility, and more sizing options, to the packaging process.

From its initial public offering in July 2005, Orchids has poured proceeds from stock offerings into capital improvements to increase productivity.

The company installed robotics in March for ease in handling pallets of its products.