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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 December 31, 2023

Commission file number 1-32737

KOPPERS HOLDINGS INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Pennsylvania

20-1878963

(State of incorporation)

(IRS Employer Identification No.)

436 Seventh Avenue

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219

(412) 227-2001

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

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 Stock

KOP

The 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 No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes No

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 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 (§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 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 emerging growth company. See the 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 an 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.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant's executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No

The aggregate market value of shares of Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing sales price of the Common Stock on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2023 was $688.0 million (affiliates, for this purpose, have been deemed to be Directors and executive officers of Koppers Holdings Inc.).

As of January 31, 2024, 21,027,990 shares of Common Stock of the registrant were issued and outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Item

 

 

 

Page

 

Part I

 

 

 

 

 

1.

 

Business

 

4

 

1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

10

 

1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

24

 

1C.

 

Cybersecurity

 

24

 

2.

 

Properties

 

26

 

3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

26

 

4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

26

 

Information About Our Executive Officers

 

27

 

Part II

 

 

 

 

 

5.

 

Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

28

 

6.

 

Reserved

 

28

 

7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

29

 

7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

36

 

8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

37

 

9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

70

 

9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

70

 

9B.

 

Other Information

 

70

 

9C.

 

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

 

70

 

Part III

 

 

 

 

 

10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

70

 

11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

71

 

12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

71

 

13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

71

 

14.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

71

 

Part IV

 

 

 

 

 

15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

 

72

 

16.

 

Form 10-K Summary

 

76

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signatures

 

77

 

 

 

 

 

 

2


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This report and the documents incorporated herein by reference contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and may include, but are not limited to, statements about sales levels, acquisitions, restructuring, declines in the value of Koppers assets and the effect of any resulting impairment charges, profitability and anticipated synergies, expenses and cash outflows. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. All statements contained herein that are not clearly historical in nature are forward-looking, and words such as outlook, guidance, forecast, believe, anticipate, expect, estimate, may, will, should, continue, plan, potential, intend, likely or other similar words or phrases are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement contained herein, regarding future dividends, expectations with respect to sales, earnings, cash flows, operating efficiencies, restructurings, product introduction or expansion, the benefits of acquisitions and divestitures or other matters, as well as financings and debt reduction, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and contingencies.

Many of these risks, uncertainties and contingencies are beyond our control, and may cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from anticipated results, performance or achievements. Factors that might affect such forward-looking statements include, among other things:

availability of and fluctuations in the prices of key raw materials, including coal tar, lumber and scrap copper;
the impact of changes in commodity prices, such as oil, copper and chemicals, on product margins;
the ratings on our debt and our ability to repay or refinance our outstanding indebtedness as it matures;
our ability to operate within the limitations of our debt covenants;
capital market conditions, including interest rates, borrowing costs and foreign currency rate fluctuations;
general economic and business conditions, including labor shortages, increased employee turnover and demand for our goods and services;
disruptions and inefficiencies in the supply chain;
unexpected business disruptions;
potential difficulties in protecting intellectual property;
potential impairment of our goodwill and/or long-lived assets;
the effects of competition in the industries in which we operate, including locations of competitors and operating and market competition;
economic, political and environmental conditions in international markets, including governmental changes, tariffs, restrictions on trade and restrictions on the ability to transfer capital across countries;
changes in laws, including tax regulations or accounting standards, third-party relations and approvals, and decisions of courts, regulators and governmental bodies;
the impact of environmental laws and regulations;
parties who are obligated to indemnify us for liabilities, including legal and environmental liabilities, fail to perform under their legal obligations;
unfavorable resolution of litigation or other legal proceedings against us; and
the other factors set forth under Risk Factors; as well as those discussed more fully elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

We caution you that the foregoing list of important factors may not contain all of the material factors that are important to you. In addition, in light of these risks and uncertainties, the matters referred to in the forward-looking statements contained in this report and the documents incorporated by reference herein may not in fact occur. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

General

In this report, unless otherwise noted or the context otherwise requires, (i) the term Koppers, Koppers Holdings, the Company, we or us refers to Koppers Holdings Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, (ii) the term KH refers to Koppers Holdings Inc. and not any of its subsidiaries and (iii) the term KI refers to Koppers Inc. and not any of its subsidiaries. Koppers Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koppers Holdings Inc. Koppers Holdings Inc. has substantially no operations independent of Koppers Inc. and its subsidiaries. The use of these terms is not intended to imply that Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. are not separate and distinct legal entities from each other and from their respective subsidiaries. Koppers Holdings Inc. was incorporated in November 2004 as a holding company for Koppers Inc.

We are a leading integrated global provider of treated wood products, wood preservation chemicals and carbon compounds. Our products and services are used in a variety of niche applications in a diverse range of end-markets, including the railroad, specialty chemical, utility, residential lumber, agriculture, aluminum, steel, rubber and construction industries. We serve our customers through a comprehensive global manufacturing and distribution network, with manufacturing capabilities in North America, South America, Australasia and Europe.

Business Segments and Products

We operate three principal business segments: Railroad and Utility Products and Services (RUPS), Performance Chemicals (PC) and Carbon Materials and Chemicals (CMC).

We believe our three business segments command leading market positions. Through our RUPS business, we believe that we are the largest supplier of railroad crossties to the Class I railroads in North America. Through our CMC business, we believe we are the largest global supplier of creosote to the North American railroad industry. Through our PC business, we believe that we are the global leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing wood preservation chemicals and wood treatment technologies for use in the pressure treating of lumber for residential, industrial and agricultural applications.

Our RUPS and CMC operations are, to a substantial extent, vertically integrated. Through our CMC business, we process coal tar into a variety of products, including creosote, which is an intermediate material necessary in the pressure treatment of wood crossties, other related railroad products and utility poles. The majority of the creosote we produce in North America and Europe is sold internally to our RUPS business and consumed in the treating process.

Our RUPS and PC operations are also vertically integrated. Through our PC business, we produce a variety of products, including chromated copper arsenate (CCA) and dichloro-octyl-isothiazolinone (DCOI), which is used in the pressure treatment of utility poles and pilings. A portion of the CCA and DCOI we produce in North America and a portion of the CCA we produce in Australia is sold internally to our RUPS business for treating poles and pilings.

Railroad and Utility Products and Services

Our RUPS business primarily sells pressure-treated railroad ties to the railroad industry in the United States and Canada and treated utility poles to utility markets in the eastern United States and Australia. Railroad products and services include procuring and treating items such as crossties, switch ties and various types of lumber used for railroad bridges and crossings. Utility products include the pressure treatment of transmission and distribution poles for electric and telephone utilities. In addition, we provide untreated wood products and rail joint bars, which are steel bars used to join rails together for railroads, to the railroad markets and inspection services to the utility markets. We also operate a railroad services business that conducts engineering, design, repair and inspection services for railroad bridges and a business related to the recovery of used crossties, serving the same customer base as our North American railroad business. The primary end-markets for RUPS are the North American railroad industry, which has an installed base of approximately 450 million wood crossties, and the U.S. and Australian utility industries which utilize wooden distribution and transmission poles. Both crossties and utility poles require periodic replacement.

The RUPS business operates 18 wood treating plants and one rail joint bar manufacturing facility located throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. Our network of plants is strategically located near timber suppliers to enable us to access raw materials and service customers effectively. In addition, all of our crosstie treating plants are on our largest railroad customers’ rail lines.

Our RUPS business manufactures its primary products and sells them directly to our customers through long-term contracts and purchase orders negotiated by our regional sales personnel and coordinated through our marketing group at corporate headquarters.

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Hardwoods, such as oak and other species, are the major raw materials in wood crossties. Hardwood prices, which account for approximately 70 percent of a finished crosstie’s cost, fluctuate with the demand from other hardwood lumber markets, such as oak flooring, pallets and other specialty lumber products. Weather conditions can be a factor in the supply of raw material, as unusually wet or inclement conditions may make it difficult to harvest timber.

In the United States, hardwood lumber for crossties is procured by us from hundreds of small sawmills throughout the northeastern, midwestern and southern areas of the country. The crossties are shipped via rail car or trucked directly to one of our crosstie treating plants, all of which are on line with a major railroad. The crossties are either air-stacked for a period of six to nine months or artificially dried by a process called boultonizing. Once dried, the crossties are pressure treated with creosote, a product of our CMC business. A substantial portion of our crossties are treated with borate, which is purchased from PC, in combination with creosote.

We believe we are the largest supplier of railroad crossties to the Class I railroads in North America. We have one principal competitor, Stella-Jones Inc., and several smaller regional competitors in the North American market. Competitive factors in the railroad crosstie market include price, quality, location, service and security of supply. We believe we have a competitive advantage due to our ability to obtain internally-sourced creosote and our national network of treating plants which have direct access to our major customers’ rail lines. These advantages provide for security of supply and logistics advantages for our customers.

Our RUPS business’ largest customer base is the North American Class I railroad market, which buys approximately 80 percent of all crossties produced in the United States and Canada. Approximately 75 percent of our North American Railroad Products and Services sales are under long-term contracts, and we currently supply all North American Class I railroads. We also have relationships with many of the approximately 615 short-line and regional rail lines. This also forms the customer base for our rail joint bar products.

We believe our North American utility pole business is the second largest producer of utility poles in the United States, and we believe our Australian utility pole business is the largest producer of utility poles in Australia. Utility poles are produced mainly from pine species in the United States and eucalyptus species in Australia. Most of these poles are purchased from large timber owners and individual landowners and shipped to one of our pole-peeling facilities. In North America and Australia, in addition to utility poles, we market pilings for marine applications and smaller poles to the agricultural landscape and vineyard markets. We treat poles with a variety of preservatives, including CCA, DCOI and creosote, which we produce internally and purchase from PC and CMC.

Performance Chemicals

Our PC business maintains sales and manufacturing capabilities in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. The primary products supplied by PC are copper-based wood preservatives, including micronized copper azole (MicroPro®), micronized pigments (MicroShades®), alkaline copper quaternary, amine copper azole, DCOI and CCA. The primary applications for these products include decking, fencing, utility poles, construction lumber and timbers, and various agricultural uses. Additionally, we are a leading supplier of fire-retardant chemicals (FlamePro®) for pressure treatment of wood, primarily in commercial construction, where applicable. Because we are a global supplier of wood preservatives, we face various competitors in all the geographic regions in which we participate.

PC supplies all of the ten largest lumber treating companies in the United States, the largest treated wood market in the world, in addition to the three largest lumber treating companies in Canada. In North America, our PC business is vertically integrated through the manufacturing of copper compounds for our copper-based wood preservatives. We purchase approximately 37 million pounds of scrap copper, our key raw material, in addition to other compounds containing copper which we process to meet the annual demand of this major market. When we purchase scrap copper, it is shipped to our manufacturing plants in Hubbell, Michigan and Millington, Tennessee for further processing into other copper compounds. We utilize swap contracts to hedge our exposure to copper prices.

We believe that being vertically integrated in copper manufacturing provides PC with an important competitive advantage and also provides our customers with the security of a supply of copper-based wood preservatives. Likewise, we believe that our marketing, engineering, and technical support services provide added value to our customer base, who supply pressure-treated wood products to large retailers and independent lumber dealers. We believe another competitive advantage is provided by our strategic sourcing group, which procures scrap copper and other raw materials, such as chromic acid, tebuconazole, arsenic trioxide, colorants, dispersants and various biocides and co-biocides through the global market.

 

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Carbon Materials and Chemicals

Our CMC business manufactures its primary products and sells them directly to our global customer base under long-term contracts or through purchase orders negotiated by our regional sales personnel and coordinated through our regional marketing groups. Our three coal tar distillation facilities and five carbon materials terminals give us the ability to offer customers multiple sourcing options and a consistent supply of high-quality products.

Our CMC business manufactures the following principal products:

creosote, used in the treatment of wood or as a feedstock in the production of carbon black;
carbon pitch, a critical raw material used in the production of aluminum and steel;
naphthalene, used as a feedstock in the production of phthalic anhydride and as a surfactant in the production of concrete; and
phthalic anhydride, used in the production of plasticizers, polyester resins and alkyd paints, respectively.

Creosote, carbon pitch, naphthalene, and carbon black feedstock are produced through the distillation of coal tar, a by-product generated through the processing of coal into coke for use in steel and iron manufacturing. Coal tar distillation involves the conversion of coal tar into a variety of intermediate chemical products in processes beginning with distillation. During the distillation process, heat and vacuum are utilized to separate coal tar into three primary components: chemical oils, distillate and carbon pitch.

For years, the coal tar distillation industry has operated in an excess capacity mode, which further increased the competition for a limited amount of coal tar in North America and Europe. In response, we embarked on a global restructuring plan in 2014 and reduced our global number of coal tar distillation facilities to three as of December 31, 2023. See Note 3 – Acquisitions, Divestitures and Discontinued Operations for a discussion of the sale of our Chinese distillation facility, Koppers (Jiangsu) Carbon Chemical Company Limited (KJCC) in 2020 as part of this plan.

The smelting of aluminum requires significant amounts of energy, which is a major cost component for the aluminum industry. As a result, new production facilities are being built in regions with low energy costs such as the Middle East, while regions with higher energy costs such as the United States, Western Europe and Australia have seen significant amounts of smelting capacity idled or closed over the last several years.

In the United States, our primary coal tar raw material supply contracts have remaining terms ranging from one to three years, and most provide options for renewal. Pricing under these contracts is either formula-based or negotiated on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. Our primary European tar supply contract has a remaining term of approximately one year, extending indefinitely thereafter unless terminated by a one-year advance notice, and contains formula-based tar pricing. Finally, our primary Australian supply contracts have remaining terms up to four years and contain formula-based pricing which is adjusted on an annual or semi-annual basis.

We believe we are the largest global supplier of creosote to the North American railroad industry. We have one principal competitor, Rain Carbon Inc., in the North American and European markets, in addition to several smaller regional competitors. We believe we have a competitive advantage due to our vertically integrated RUPS and CMC operations. These advantages provide for security of supply and logistics advantages for our customers.

Technology and Licensing

In 1988, we acquired the Koppers trademark from Koppers Company, Inc. The association of the name with the chemical, building, wood preservation and coke industries is beneficial to our company, as it represents long-standing, high quality products. Trademarks relating to our PC business, such as MicroPro®, FlamePro®, Protim and Solignum are important in this segment of our business, and as long as we continue to use the name Koppers and the trademarks associated with our wood preservation business and comply with applicable registration requirements, our right to use the name Koppers and the other trademarks should continue without expiration. The expiration of other trademark rights is not expected to materially affect our business.

Backlog

Generally, Koppers does not manufacture its products against a backlog of orders. Inventory and production levels are typically driven by expectations of future demand based on contractual obligations. Our RUPS business carries significant amounts of untreated crosstie inventory, which typically requires air-seasoning for a period of six to nine months.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Seasonality

Demand for residential, commercial, and agricultural treated lumber may decline during winter months due to weather conditions. In addition, inclement or winter weather may affect access to certain raw materials or impact operations at our facilities. As a result, operating results may vary from quarter to quarter depending on the severity of weather conditions and other variables affecting our products. Historically, our operating results have been significantly lower in the first and fourth calendar quarters as compared to the second and third calendar quarters.

Segment Information

Please see Note 9 – Segment Information, under Item 8 of this Form 10-K for financial information relating to business segments and geographic areas. See also Item 1A. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Business – Demand for our products is cyclical and we may experience prolonged depressed market conditions for our products.

Non-U.S. Operations

Koppers has a significant investment in non-U.S. operations. Therefore, we are subject to certain risks that are inherent to foreign operations, including complying with applicable laws relating to foreign practices, the laws of foreign countries in which we operate, political and economic conditions in international markets, the imposition of tariffs and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. See also Item 1A. Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Business – We are subject to risks inherent in foreign operations, including additional legal regulation and changes in social, political and economic conditions.

Environmental Matters

Our operations and properties are subject to extensive federal, state, local, and foreign environmental laws and regulations relating to protection of the environment and human health and safety, including those concerning the treatment, storage and disposal of wastes, the investigation and remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater, the discharge of effluents into waterways, the emission of substances into the air, as well as various health and safety matters. Environmental laws and regulations are subject to frequent amendment and have historically become more stringent over time. We have incurred, and could incur in the future, significant costs if we fail to comply with regulations and responsibilities under environmental laws and regulations, including cleanup costs, civil and criminal penalties, injunctive relief and denial or loss of, or imposition of significant restrictions on, environmental permits. In addition, we have been, and could in the future be, subject to suit by private parties in connection with alleged violations of, or liabilities under, environmental laws and regulations. Additional information on environmental matters is available in Item 1A under Risks Related to Our Business and Note 17 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, Commitments and Contingent Liabilities.

Employees and Employee Relations

As of December 31, 2023, we had 971 salaried employees and 1,137 non-salaried employees. Listed below is a breakdown of employees by our businesses, including administration.

Business

 

Salaried

 

 

Non-Salaried

 

 

Total

 

Railroad and Utility Products and Services

 

 

348

 

 

 

802

 

 

 

1,150

 

Performance Chemicals

 

 

233

 

 

 

122

 

 

 

355

 

Carbon Materials and Chemicals

 

 

232

 

 

 

204

 

 

 

436

 

Administration

 

 

158

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

167

 

Total Employees

 

 

971

 

 

 

1,137

 

 

 

2,108

 

 

Approximately 500 of our employees are represented by a number of different labor unions and are covered under numerous labor agreements. The labor contract at one of our facilities covering 59 employees is scheduled to expire during 2024.

Human Capital Management

Our ability to positively affect our communities starts with investing in our people. We put the health, safety and well-being of our employees at the forefront of everything we do as part of our Zero Harm culture. Our people-focused strategy considers all aspects of the employee experience, from hiring practices and onboarding to health and wellness and talent management. We seek to create and foster an inclusive and welcoming culture where all employees feel empowered and can directly impact and share in the organization’s success. Key to this effort is delivering a consistent onboarding experience, as well as communications and safety training in all of our facilities across the globe.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Talent Attraction and Retention

Our talented employees are a critical element to make our business successful, so it is essential that we position them for success. It is also important that we continue attracting top talent to our workforce. Our Culture and Engagement team leads these efforts to attract, retain and develop our employees and has created various programs to enhance the skill set of our workforce. Recognizing the importance of a consistent and comprehensive onboarding and safety training experience for new hires across our facility footprint, we have a web-based training program to ensure every employee receives a consistent message from the start of their employment. The program includes videos detailing our company and our primary business lines as well as a new hire information packet that contains information on employee programs, services, benefits and more.

We also have a toolkit to help managers guide new employees for success, and we conduct regular new hire surveys to solicit feedback and identify opportunities for improvement. We continue to evaluate and employ methods to identify at-risk behaviors during the hiring process to place prospective employees in appropriately suited positions where they can be successful and workplace injuries can be avoided. This behavioral data also enables us to tailor training and onboarding based on the opportunities it highlights.

Performance Management

To ensure our employees have the best opportunity for success, our performance development process includes periodic meetings between employees and managers to discuss their goals and strategies to achieve them. We no longer conduct traditional annual reviews and instead opt for these more frequent two-way discussions focused on fostering ideas that will enable employee success. Each manager is expected to meet one-on-one at least monthly with their employees to discuss tailored strategies to encourage employee success like additional training, attendance at conferences or establishing connections to others within our company. These monthly meetings also help managers gauge employee engagement and develop approaches to increase and sustain positive engagement.

We also have a New Hire Mentoring Program as another component of our development process. The program provides both hourly and salaried employees an extra opportunity to receive support from experienced employees and discuss any ideas they may have for improving our operations or their work experience. Prior to participating, mentors and mentees receive training on getting the most out of the program.

Training and Education

As a part of our people-focused approach to our operations, we are committed to helping our employees thrive in their roles and grow both personally and professionally. A major component of this plan is our commitment to providing each employee with the training and education they need to be successful. Under the umbrella of our Koppers College, we provide leadership development training to our front-line employees to expand their growth opportunities within the organization. We also foster innovation and develop our next wave of high-potential employees through our leadership forum, an intensive nine-month program conducted in partnership with a university local to our corporate headquarters. Approximately ten to twelve employees from across the world are chosen annually for each cohort. Selected participants travel to our corporate headquarters to take part in workshops facilitated by university professors and business leaders. We also offer our employees a tuition reimbursement program to help them pursue degrees and certifications related to relevant skills they utilize for their positions to further personal and company success.

Inclusion and Diversity

We support an inclusive and diverse work environment across our company through a range of strategic programs. Our internal processes and programs target inclusion and diversity as a key area of importance, and externally we place emphasis on the topic during philanthropic activities. Our global inclusion and diversity initiative focuses on supporting our strategy to be an employer of choice and helps to ensure that all employees feel they are heard and valued to harness the power of an engaged workforce.

Compensation and Benefits

We encourage employee participation in our benefit programs for saving for retirement through robust defined contribution and employee stock purchase programs. The U.S. 401(k) program includes both traditional matching and an additional non-elective company contribution based on organizational performance. When the company achieves the established performance target, employees share in this success through an automatic contribution to their 401(k) accounts. We also offer our employees the option to acquire Koppers stock through an employee stock purchase program. The program gives our employees the opportunity to buy shares at a discount through payroll deductions during defined quarterly offering periods.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Health and Safety

We believe a robust wellness program that encourages employee participation is key to promoting healthy lifestyles and decision-making. Our wellness screening program for our U.S.-based employees provides employees the opportunity to learn more about their health and daily routines. As part of this program, employees can earn financial incentives and non-monetary rewards for completing a variety of wellness and nutritional initiatives. Recognizing the importance of supporting our employees in all aspects of their lives, we provide an Employee Assistance Program with a full range of supportive resources including financial wellness, mental health and family services. For our U.S.-based employees, we also offer four weeks of paid time-off for mothers and fathers who have a birth, adoption or foster children as part of our parental bonding leave program. Additionally, we offer work schedule flexibility including the opportunity to work remotely when conditions allow.

We work with a Zero Harm approach to every employee’s health and safety. Zero Harm includes policies that guide our safety practices and procedures throughout all of our facilities, a focus on leading activities that prevent accidents and a leadership culture that insists the health and safety of our employees comes ahead of everything we do.

Environmental, Social and Governance Matters

Corporate social responsibility, which we view as our obligations to people, the environment and corporate governance, has been a part of our culture for many years. We believe this culture, supported by a spirit of collaboration and innovation, allows us to decrease our impact on the environment and create value for all of our stakeholders. We published our first Corporate Social Responsibility report (CSR) in 2008 and our historical CSR reports are available on www.koppers.com/pages/sustainability. The contents of our corporate website are not incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

We have established a governance structure to support and develop our sustainability practices. The Sustainability Committee of the board of directors provides oversight of our programs. Management provides direction through its Leadership Council, chaired by the CEO. Our Sustainability Steering Committee provides guidance on goals and programs designed to improve our performance against those expectations.

Environmental

The circular nature of our business starts with our raw materials, the majority of which are by-products generated by other industries (including scrap copper and coal tar) and renewable resources (trees). We purchase approximately 37 million pounds of scrap copper per year which is post-consumer or post-industrial in nature. We believe this places Koppers in the center of what is known as the circular economy that emphasizes the reduce, reuse, recycle mentality that continues to frame global conservation efforts. Our wood-treatment solutions, while supporting an important role in our global infrastructure across multiple industries, also support an important role in the carbon cycle. Treating wood significantly increases its useful lifespan, allowing the carbon stored within the wood to be immobilized for up to 50 years, keeping it out of the atmosphere and limiting its impact on the environment. In addition, we have businesses which have product life cycle management capabilities to help solve our customers’ challenge of responsibly disposing of end-of-life crossties by repurposing used wood products, including as a fuel source. This reduces the end-of-life impact of our ties, contributing to greater product sustainability.

Social

We are committed to proactively evaluating and addressing community needs in the areas where we operate. Many of our locations have made strong connections with local community members, allowing Koppers representatives to share facility information and address any questions, observations, concerns and ideas. Our community impact is demonstrated through our employees’ volunteer commitments and a corporate philanthropy program. Employees worldwide volunteer their time to mentor students, enhance local education initiatives, take care of the elderly, assist at homeless shelters and provide hands-on help to those affected by natural disasters.

We believe our ability to positively impact our communities and environment starts with investing in our employees. Our people-focused strategy considers all aspects of the employee experience, from hiring practices and onboarding to health and wellness and talent management.

Collaboration – Communication across our global footprint drives our efforts. All Koppers employees take part in safety training programs and provide direct feedback to leadership as part of the company’s annual engagement survey.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Inclusion and Diversity – We are committed to supporting inclusion and diversity in process and practice. Our Culture and Engagement team ensures that a diverse slate of candidates is considered for open positions. Our employee resource groups, LINKWomen, which was launched in 2018, LINKParents, which was launched in 2021, and LINKUp (young professionals), which was launched in 2024, provide an important development forum for employees and serve as a model for future initiatives.

Governance

We believe our corporate governance structure is designed to assure accountability to our stakeholders and to make certain that we conduct business in a responsible, ethical way. We maintain a comprehensive Code of Conduct that details the expectations and requirements we have as an organization for our employees. This Code of Conduct applies to all employees, whether we are engaging in peer-to-peer interactions, working to comply with complex regulations, marketing our products, purchasing materials, creating new products, managing our finances or interacting with our communities.

Our board of directors is broadly responsible for contributing to the strategic direction and oversight of the company. There are five board committees, including: Audit; Nominating and Corporate Governance; Management Development and Compensation; Strategy and Risk; and Sustainability. Among its duties and responsibilities, the board oversees management’s direction of the legal, ethical and socially responsible behavior of the company, such as developing effective performance measurement systems, reviewing the company's long-term strategy and overseeing risk management processes.

Our Leadership Council, which consists of 11 members of senior management, is responsible for directing the development and implementation of the company's strategic plan and business operations around the globe. These executive leaders establish and maintain our commitment to ethics, integrity, fiscal responsibility, growth and sustainability.

Internet Access

Our Internet address is www.koppers.com. Our recent filings on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K and any amendments to those documents can be accessed without charge on our website under Investor Relations – Financials & Filings – SEC Filings or from the Securities and Exchange Commission at its website, www.sec.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after such filings are made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The contents of our Internet site are not incorporated by reference into this document.

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

You should carefully consider the risks described below before investing in our publicly traded securities. Our business is subject to the risks that affect many other companies, such as competition, technological obsolescence, labor relations, general economic conditions, geopolitical events and international operations.

Risks Related to Our Business

Fluctuations in the price, quality and availability of our primary raw materials could reduce our profitability. In addition, geopolitical events and the risk of related government actions affecting our business and our customers or raw material suppliers may adversely impact our business, results of operations and cash flows.

Our operations depend on an adequate supply of quality raw materials being available on a timely basis. The loss of a key source of supply or a delay in shipments could cause a significant increase in our operating expenses. For example, our operations are highly dependent on a relatively small number of freight transportation services. We are also dependent on specialized ocean-going transport vessels that we lease to deliver raw materials to our facilities and finished goods to our customers. Interruptions in such freight services could impair our ability to receive raw materials and ship finished products in a timely manner. We are also exposed to price and quality risks associated with raw material purchases. Such risks include the following:

The availability and cost of lumber are critical elements in our production of railroad crossties, utility poles and other related wood products for our RUPS business. Historically, the supply and cost of hardwood for railroad crossties have been subject to availability and price pressures. We may not be able to obtain wood raw materials at economical prices in the future or be able to pass on higher raw material costs to our customers.
The availability of scrap copper is a critical element in our production of copper-based wood preservation chemicals for our PC business. Our purchase price for scrap copper is based upon spot prices in the copper market, which may be subject to sudden price changes. We may not be able to obtain scrap copper at prices that match underlying pricing commitments to our customers.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

The primary raw material used by our CMC business is coal tar, a by-product of coke production. Currently, our CMC business supplies our North American RUPS business with 100 percent of its creosote requirements. A shortage in the supply of domestic coal tar or a reduction in the quality of coal tar could require us to increase coal tar or creosote imports to meet future creosote demand. This could cause a significant increase in our operating expenses and we may be unable to pass some or all of these costs on to our customers.
In certain circumstances coal tar may also be used as an alternative to fuel. In the past, increases in energy prices have resulted in higher coal tar costs which we have attempted to pass through to our customers. If these increased costs cannot be passed through to our customers, it could result in reduced profitability for our coal tar-based products.
Our price realizations and profit margins for phthalic anhydride have historically fluctuated with the price of orthoxylene and its relationship with phthalic anhydride; however, during periods of excess supplies of phthalic anhydride, profitability may be reduced despite high levels for orthoxylene prices.
Our price realizations and profit margins for phthalic anhydride, naphthalene and carbon black feedstock have historically fluctuated with the market price of crude oil, market prices for chemicals derived from crude oil, such as orthoxylene, or market indices derived from crude oil.
We import certain raw materials that are used in our products that are, or may become, subject to tariffs, trade restrictions or supply chain disruptions. For example, the potential for regional conflict between China and Taiwan could result in disruptions of raw materials that our CMC and KPC businesses source from China and Taiwan.

In addition, geopolitical events, such as systemic political or economic instability, civil unrest, outbreak of war or expansion of hostilities or acts of terrorism, whether occurring in the United States or abroad, could disrupt our operations or the operations of one or more of our raw material suppliers or customers, or could severely damage or destroy one or more of our facilities located in the affected areas, which could in turn adversely affect our ability to obtain raw materials from our suppliers or transport products to our customers. These factors could also cause consumer confidence and spending to decrease or result in increased volatility in the United States and global financial markets and economy.

Further, the United States government, other governments or international organizations could impose sanctions that could restrict us from doing business directly or indirectly in or with certain countries or parties, which could include raw material suppliers or customers. For example, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our European-based CMC business lost a substantial portion of its coal tar requirements that were previously sourced from the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Geopolitical events further impacting these countries, or other countries from which we source raw materials or where our facilities or customers are located, could adversely affect the impacted business segments.

If the costs of raw materials increase significantly and we are unable to offset the increased costs with higher selling prices, our profitability will decline. Any such occurrence could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition, cash flows and liquidity.

We face risks related to our substantial indebtedness.

As of December 31, 2023, we had total outstanding debt of $849.4 million, and approximately $330.0 million of additional unused borrowing capacity under our credit agreement (the Credit Facility) with a consortium of banks, which includes an $800.0 million revolving credit facility, a $50.0 million swingline facility and provides for the ability to incur one or more uncommitted incremental revolving or term loan facilities in an aggregate amount of at least $730.0 million, subject to applicable financial covenants. Our substantial leverage could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, expose us to interest rate risk associated with our variable rate debt and prevent us from meeting our obligations under the Credit Facility as described in Note 15 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. Our high level of debt can result and in the past has resulted in a substantial portion of cash flow from operations being dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our debt, thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, including paying our vendors within agreed upon terms, capital expenditures, and business opportunities.

A high level of indebtedness could have other adverse consequences to us, including:

making it more difficult for us to make payments on our debt;
increasing our vulnerability to general economic and industry conditions;
exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates as certain of our borrowings under our Credit Facility are at variable rates;
restricting us from making strategic acquisitions or causing us to make non-strategic divestitures;
limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, product development, debt service requirements, acquisitions, and general corporate or other purposes; and

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

limiting our ability to adjust to changing market conditions and placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who may be less highly leveraged.

We and our subsidiaries may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, subject to the restrictions contained in our Credit Facility. If new indebtedness is added to our current debt levels, the related risks that we now face could intensify.

Our debt agreements contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business.

Our Credit Facility contains various covenants that limit our ability to engage in specified types of transactions. These covenants limit our ability and the ability of our restricted subsidiaries to, among other things:

incur additional debt;
pay dividends or distributions on our capital stock or repurchase our capital stock;
issue stock of subsidiaries;
make certain distributions;
make certain investments;
create liens on our assets to secure debt;
enter into transactions with affiliates;
modify material documents (including organizational documents);
make certain acquisitions;
merge or consolidate with another company; and
sell or otherwise transfer assets.

In addition, under the Credit Facility, we are required to meet specified financial ratios in order to undertake certain actions, and we are required to maintain a specified minimum cash interest coverage ratio and a maximum total net leverage ratio. Our ability to meet those tests can be affected by events beyond our control, and we cannot assure you that we will meet them. A breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under our Credit Facility. Upon the occurrence of an event of default under our Credit Facility, the lenders could elect to declare all amounts outstanding under our Credit Facility to be immediately due and payable and terminate all commitments to extend further credit.

If we were unable to repay those amounts, the lenders under our Credit Facility could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure such indebtedness. We have pledged substantially all of our assets as collateral under our Credit Facility. If the lenders under our Credit Facility accelerate the repayment of borrowings, we cannot assure you that we will have sufficient assets to repay our Credit Facility, as well as our unsecured indebtedness.

We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service all of our indebtedness and may be forced to take other actions to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness, which may not be successful.

Our ability to make scheduled payments on or to refinance our debt obligations depends on our financial condition and operating performance, which are subject to prevailing economic and competitive conditions and to certain financial, business and other factors beyond our control. We cannot assure you that we will maintain a level of cash flows from operating activities sufficient to permit us to pay the principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness.

If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service obligations, we may be forced to reduce or delay investments and capital expenditures, delay payments to vendors, sell assets, seek additional capital, or restructure or refinance our indebtedness. These alternative measures may not be successful and may not permit us to meet our scheduled debt service obligations. In the absence of such operating results and resources, we could face substantial liquidity problems and might be required to dispose of material assets or operations to meet our debt service and other obligations. Our Credit Facility restricts our ability to dispose of assets and use the proceeds from the disposition. We may not be able to consummate those dispositions or to obtain the proceeds that we could realize from them, and these proceeds may not be adequate to meet any debt service obligations then due.

Demand for our products is cyclical, and we may experience prolonged depressed market conditions for our products.

Our products are sold primarily into markets that historically have been cyclical, such as wood preservation, aluminum and specialty chemicals.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

The principal use of our wood preservation chemicals is in the manufacture of treated lumber, which is used mainly for residential applications, such as wood decking, and also industrial applications, such as the treating of railroad crossties and utility poles. Therefore, a decline in remodeling and construction could reduce demand for wood preservation chemicals for residential applications, and a decline in the capital spending practices for railroads and utility companies could reduce demand for wood preservation chemicals for industrial applications.
The principal consumers of our carbon pitch are primary aluminum smelters. Although the global aluminum industry has experienced growth on a long-term basis, the aluminum industry has experienced a shift in primary aluminum production from the mature geographies, where we have historically enjoyed high market shares, to emerging economies, where we have less of a presence.
The principal use of our phthalic anhydride product is in the manufacture of plasticizers and flexible vinyl, which are used mainly in the housing and automobile industries. Therefore, a decline in remodeling and construction or global automobile production could reduce the demand for phthalic anhydride.

We are dependent on major customers for a significant portion of our net sales, and the loss of one or more of our major customers could result in a significant reduction in our profitability as a whole or the profitability of a particular product.

Although no one customer accounted for more than six percent of our net sales for the year ended December 31, 2023, our top ten customers accounted for approximately 33 percent of our net sales in the aggregate. The loss of a significant customer could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow and financial condition.

We may not be able to implement price increases sufficient to compensate for increased operating costs and raw material costs in our businesses.

We have experienced and may experience further increased operating costs and raw material costs in our businesses. Our ability to implement price increases is largely influenced by competitive and economic conditions and could vary significantly depending on the segment served. Such increases may not be accepted by our customers, may not be sufficient to compensate for increased operating and raw material costs or may decrease demand for our products and our volume of sales. In addition, contractual terms with customers may limit our ability to implement price increases necessary to recover increased operating and raw material costs in our businesses. Our profitability could be adversely affected if we are unable to implement adequate price increases.

The development of new technologies or changes in our customers’ products could reduce the demand for our products.

Our products are used for a variety of applications by our customers. Changes in our customers’ products or processes may enable our customers to reduce consumption of the products we produce or make our products unnecessary. Customers may also find alternative materials or processes that no longer require our products.

As a producer of wood preservatives, we may incur additional costs under our warranties or otherwise for claims related to treated-wood products.

We provide limited warranties on certain treated-wood products. These limited warranties cover treated-wood products that are produced by certain of our customers who use wood preservatives supplied by us. The limited warranties generally provide for replacement of properly treated wood (treated-wood only) or refund of the purchase price for the treated-wood product that prematurely fails due to fungal decay or termite attack. We (or our customers) receive claims under these warranties or other claims relating to alleged failures of treated-wood products. Our profitability could be adversely affected if the amount of warranty claims against us or our customers significantly increases.

Hazards associated with chemical manufacturing may cause suspensions or interruptions of our operations.

Due to the nature of our business, we are exposed to the hazards associated with chemical manufacturing and the related use, storage and transportation of raw materials, products and wastes in our manufacturing facilities and our distribution centers, such as fires, explosions and accidents that could lead to a suspension or interruption of operations. Any disruption could reduce the productivity and profitability of a particular manufacturing facility or of our Company as a whole. Other hazards include the following:

piping and storage tank leaks and ruptures;
mechanical failure;
exposure to hazardous substances; and
chemical spills and other discharges or releases of toxic or hazardous wastes, substances or gases.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

These hazards, among others, may cause personal injury and loss of life, damage to property and contamination of the environment, which could lead to government fines or work stoppage injunctions, cleanup costs and lawsuits by injured persons. While we are unable to predict the outcome of such matters, if determined adversely to us, we may not have adequate insurance to cover related costs or liabilities and, if not, we may not have sufficient cash flow to pay for such costs or liabilities. Such outcomes could harm our customer goodwill and reduce our profitability and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flow and results from operations.

We are subject to extensive environmental laws and regulations and may incur significant costs as a result of continued compliance with, violations of or liabilities under environmental laws and regulations.

Like other companies involved in environmentally sensitive businesses, our operations and properties are subject to extensive federal, state, local and foreign environmental laws and regulations, including those concerning the following, among other things:

the treatment, storage and disposal of wastes;
the investigation and remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater;
the discharge of effluents into waterways;
the emission of substances into the air;
the marketing, sale, use and registration of our chemical products, such as creosote, CCA, DCOI and MicroPro®;
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act which requires the registration and authorization of antimicrobial pesticide products to be used for various applications in the United States;
the Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency and its Pest Control Products Act which requires the registration and authorization of antimicrobial pesticide products to be used for various applications in Canada;
the European Union’s regulation under the Registration Evaluation Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, which requires manufacturers or importers of substances manufactured or imported into the European Union in quantities of one ton per year or more to register with a central European Chemicals Agency;
the European Union’s regulation under the Biocidal Products Regulation, which requires a biocidal product to be authorized by the European Chemicals Agency before it can be marketed or used in the European Union;
the Great Britain Biocidal Products Regulation, which requires a biocidal product to be authorized before it can be marketed or used in Great Britain; and
other matters relating to environmental protection and various health and safety matters.

We have incurred, and expect to continue to incur, significant costs to comply with environmental laws and regulations as a result of remediation obligations. We could incur significant costs, including cleanup costs, fines, civil and criminal sanctions and claims by third parties for property damage and personal injury, as a result of violations of or liabilities under environmental laws and regulations. We accrue for environmental liabilities when a determination can be made that they are probable and reasonably estimable. Total environmental reserves at December 31, 2023 were $10.6 million, which include provisions primarily for environmental remediation. In addition, we incur significant annual operating expenses related to environmental matters and significant capital expenditures related to environmental control facilities. Capital expenditures related to environmental control facilities in 2024 are expected to total approximately $9.5 million and are expected to be funded by operations.

Contamination has been identified and is being investigated and remediated at many of our sites by us or other parties. We believe that we will have continuing significant expenditures associated with compliance with environmental laws and regulations and, to the extent not covered by insurance or available recoveries under third-party indemnification arrangements, for present and future remediation efforts at plant sites and third-party waste sites and other liabilities associated with environmental matters. There can be no assurance that these expenditures will not exceed current estimates and will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flow and results of operations.

Actual costs and liabilities to us may exceed forecasted amounts. Moreover, currently unknown environmental issues, such as the discovery of additional contamination or the imposition of additional sampling or cleanup obligations with respect to our sites or third-party sites, may result in significant additional costs, and potentially significant expenditures could be required in order to comply with future changes to environmental laws and regulations or the interpretation or enforcement thereof. We also are involved in various litigation and proceedings relating to environmental matters and toxic tort claims.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Future climate change regulation could result in increased operating costs and reduced demand for our products.

Increasing societal concerns about climate change have resulted in international efforts to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. International climate change-related efforts, such as the Paris Agreement, may impact the regulatory framework of countries whose policies and laws directly influence our operations. Currently, in the United States, various federal, state and regional legislative and regulatory measures to address greenhouse gas are in phases of consideration, promulgation or implementation. These include actions which could require reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions or establish a carbon tax.

Heavy energy-using installations in the European Union operate under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), a cap and trade system on emissions. Under this system, organizations apply to the Member State for an allowance of GHG emissions. These allowances are gradually reduced year by year, to encourage reductions and are also tradable to enable companies that reduce their GHG emissions to sell their excess allowances to companies that are not reaching their emissions objectives. The Green Deal, which was approved by the EU Parliament in 2020, has set a goal of a 55 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. This will include revising and possibly expanding the EU ETS and setting targets for sectors outside the EU ETS.

In Australia, the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme requires large volume emitters (such as Koppers) to report carbon emissions and energy use to the government annually and, if they exceed certain thresholds, the ‘Safeguard Mechanism’ requires facilities to set an emissions baseline and purchase certificates if they exceed that baseline. Although Koppers does not currently exceed the threshold for the Safeguard Mechanism (100,000 TCO2e scope 1 emissions), it is foreseeable that the government could lower the threshold in the future. The Australian government has released draft legislation that seeks to introduce mandatory requirements for large businesses and financial institutions to disclose their climate-related risks and opportunities. The government is undertaking public consultation on the draft, with a current proposed start date for the legislation and reporting requirements of July 1, 2024. At the state level in Australia, the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority released its Climate Change Policy and Action Plan, which proposes to introduce greenhouse gas emission targets and limits on environment protection licenses. During 2022, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission both announced they would be increasing monitoring of, and penalties for, misleading statements in relation to net zero commitments.

Any laws or regulations that are adopted to reduce emissions of GHGs could (i) cause an increase to our raw material costs, (ii) increase our costs to operate and maintain our facilities, (iii) increase costs to administer and manage emissions programs, and (iv) have an adverse effect on demand for our products.

The insurance that we maintain may not fully cover all potential exposures.

We maintain property, casualty, general liability, workers’ compensation, pollution legal liability and other insurance, but such insurance may not cover all risks associated with the hazards of our business and is subject to limitations, including deductibles and maximum limits. We may incur losses beyond the limits, or outside the coverage, of our insurance policies, including liabilities for environmental compliance and remediation. In addition, from time to time, various types of insurance for companies in our industry have not been available on commercially acceptable terms or, in some cases, have not been available at all. In the future, we may not be able to obtain coverage at current levels, and our premiums may increase significantly on coverage that we maintain.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Adverse weather conditions or natural disasters, including conditions associated with or exacerbated by climate change, may reduce our operating results.

Our quarterly operating results fluctuate due to a variety of factors that are outside our control, including inclement weather conditions, which in the past have caused a decline in our operating results. For example, adverse weather conditions have, at times, negatively impacted our supply chain as wet conditions impacted logging operations, reducing our ability to procure crossties. In addition, adverse weather conditions have had a negative impact on our customers in our pavement sealer and wood preservation businesses, resulting in a negative impact on our sales of these products. Moreover, demand for many of our products declines during periods of inclement weather. Finally, natural disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes, could affect our revenue and operating results. It is impossible to predict the timing, magnitude or location of such natural disasters or their impacts on the local economy and on our operations. If a major wildfire, hurricane or other natural disaster were to disrupt the supply of our raw materials or damage or destroy our facilities or manufacturing equipment, we may experience potential impacts ranging from production and shipping delays to lost profits and revenues. Global climate change may exacerbate the frequency and intensity of adverse weather conditions or natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, water shortages, rainfall, unseasonably warm winter months, or other weather events, many of which have increased in severity in recent years, in geographic areas where our products are manufactured, distributed, sold and used and where our supply chains are located, and our sales and operating results may be affected to a greater degree than we have previously experienced. Such weather conditions could pose physical risks to our facilities and critical infrastructure in the United States and abroad, disrupt the operation of our supply chain and third-party vendors, and may impact our operating results.

Beazer East and Beazer Limited may not continue to meet their obligations to indemnify us.

Under the terms of the asset purchase agreement between us and Koppers Company, Inc. (now known as Beazer East, Inc.) upon the formation of Koppers Inc. in 1988, subject to certain limitations, Beazer East and Beazer Limited assumed the liability for and indemnified us against, among other things, certain clean-up liabilities for contamination occurring prior to the purchase date at sites acquired from Beazer East and certain third-party claims arising from such contamination (the Indemnity). Beazer East and Beazer Limited (which are indirect subsidiaries of Heidelberg Cement AG) may not continue to meet their obligations. Beazer East could in the future choose to challenge its obligations under the Indemnity or our satisfaction of the conditions to indemnification imposed on us thereunder. The government and other third parties may have the right under applicable environmental laws to seek relief directly from us for any and all such costs and liabilities.

In July 2004, we entered into an agreement with Beazer East to amend the December 29, 1988 asset purchase agreement to provide, among other things, for the continued tender of pre-closing environmental liabilities to Beazer East under the Indemnity through July 2019. To the extent that such third-party claims were not tendered by July 2019, Beazer East is not required to pay the costs arising from such claims under the Indemnity and furthermore, Beazer East may now tender certain of such claims to Koppers Inc. However, with respect to any such claims which were made by July 2019, Beazer East will continue to be responsible for such claims under the Indemnity beyond July 2019. The July 2004 amendment did not change the provisions of the Indemnity with respect to indemnification for non-environmental claims, such as product liability claims, which may continue to be asserted after July 2019. Qualified expenditures under the Indemnity are not subject to a monetary limit.

The Indemnity provides for the resolution of issues between Koppers Inc. and Beazer East by an arbitrator on an expedited basis upon the request of either party. The arbitrator could be asked, among other things, to make a determination regarding the allocation of environmental responsibilities between Koppers Inc. and Beazer East. Arbitration decisions under the Indemnity are final and binding on the parties.

Without Beazer East continuing to assume the financial responsibility under the Indemnity, the obligation to pay the costs and assume the liabilities relating to these matters would have a significant impact on our net income, liquidity and cash flows. Furthermore, we could be required to record a contingent liability on our balance sheet with respect to environmental matters covered by the Indemnity, which could result in our having significant negative net worth. Finally, the Indemnity does not afford us indemnification against environmental costs and liabilities attributable to acts or omissions occurring after the closing of the acquisition of assets from Beazer East under the asset purchase agreement, nor is the Indemnity applicable to liabilities arising in connection with other acquisitions by us after that closing.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Litigation and other proceedings against us could be costly and time-consuming to defend, and due to the nature of our business and products, we may be liable for damages arising out of our acts or omissions, which may have a material adverse effect on us.

We are and have been a defendant in a significant number of lawsuits in which the plaintiffs claim they have suffered a variety of illnesses (including cancer) and/or property damage as a result of exposure to coal tar pitch, pavement sealer, benzene, wood treatment chemicals and other chemicals. In addition, we are regularly subject to legal proceedings and claims that arise in the ordinary course of business, such as workers’ compensation claims, governmental investigations, employment disputes, and customer and supplier disputes arising out of the conduct of our business. We also are involved in various litigation and proceedings relating to environmental matters. Any litigation, investigation or regulatory enforcement action that may arise in these or other contexts could result in substantial costs and may divert management’s attention and resources away from the day-to-day operation of our business.

We are indemnified for certain product liability exposures under the Indemnity with Beazer East related to products sold prior to the closing of the acquisition of assets from Beazer East. Beazer East and Beazer Limited may cease to meet their indemnification obligations. In addition, Beazer East could choose to challenge its indemnification obligations or our satisfaction of the conditions to indemnification imposed on us thereunder. If for any reason (including disputed coverage or financial incapability), one or more of such parties fail to perform their obligations, and we are held liable for or otherwise required to pay all or part of such liabilities without reimbursement, the imposition of such liabilities on us could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. Furthermore, we could be required to record a contingent liability on our balance sheet with respect to such matters, which could result in us having a significant negative net worth.

Intellectual property rights are important to our business. If our patents are declared invalid or our trade secrets become known to our competitors, our ability to compete may be adversely affected.

Proprietary protection of our processes, apparatuses and other technology is important to our business, particularly in our PC business. Consequently, we may have to rely on judicial enforcement of our patents and other proprietary rights, which is generally a time consuming and expensive process. While a presumption of validity exists with respect to patents issued to us in the United States, there can be no assurance that any of our patents will not be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or rendered unenforceable. Furthermore, if any pending patent application filed by us does not result in an issued patent, or if patents are issued to us, but such patents do not provide meaningful protection of our intellectual property, or if patents issued to us expire, then our ability to compete may be adversely affected. Additionally, our competitors or other third parties may obtain patents that restrict or preclude our ability to lawfully produce or sell our products in a competitive manner, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow and financial condition. The growth of our business also depends on our ability to develop new intellectual property rights, including patents, and the successful implementation of innovation initiatives. There can be no assurance that our efforts to do so will be successful, and the failure to do so could negatively impact our results of operations.

We also rely upon unpatented proprietary know-how and continuing technological innovation and other trade secrets to develop and maintain our competitive position, particularly in our PC business. While it is our practice to enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees and third parties to protect our intellectual property, these confidentiality agreements may be breached or may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets or proprietary know-how, and adequate remedies may not be available in the event of an unauthorized use or disclosure of our trade secrets and know-how. In addition, others could obtain knowledge of our trade secrets through independent development or other access by legal means. The failure of our patents or confidentiality agreements to protect our processes, apparatuses, technology, trade secrets or proprietary know-how could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow and financial condition.

We may be required to recognize impairment charges for our long-lived assets.

At December 31, 2023, the net carrying value of long-lived assets (property, plant and equipment, operating lease right-of-use assets, goodwill and other intangible assets) totaled $1,118.8 million. In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, we periodically assess these assets to determine if they are impaired. Significant negative industry or economic trends, disruptions to our business, unexpected significant changes or planned changes in use of the assets, divestitures and market capitalization declines may result in impairments to goodwill and other long-lived assets. Future impairment charges could significantly affect our results of operations in the periods recognized. Impairment charges would also reduce our shareholders’ equity and could affect compliance with the covenants in our debt agreements.

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

We are subject to risks inherent in foreign operations, including additional legal regulation and changes in social, political and economic conditions.

We have operations in the United States, Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada, among others, and sell our products in many foreign countries. For the year ended December 31, 2023, net sales from products sold by our foreign subsidiaries accounted for approximately 29 percent of our total net sales.

Doing business on a global basis requires us to comply with the laws and regulations of the U.S. government and various international jurisdictions. These regulations place restrictions on our operations, trade practices and partners and investment decisions. In particular, our international operations are subject to U.S. and foreign anti-corruption laws and regulations, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and economic sanction programs administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Violations of these laws and regulations may result in civil or criminal penalties, including fines.

For example, some of our operations are subject to the United Kingdom’s and European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR imposes a range of compliance obligations for companies that process personal data of United Kingdom and European Union residents and includes financial penalties for non-compliance. We process personal data of our employees who are United Kingdom or European Union residents and will continue dedicating financial resources and management time to GDPR compliance. We bear the cost of compliance with the GDPR and are subject to fines and penalties in the event of a breach of the GDPR, which could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Political and financial instability can lead to economic uncertainty and may adversely impact our business. In addition, as a global business, we are also exposed to market risks relating to fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates. Our international revenues could be reduced by currency fluctuations or devaluations. Changes in currency exchange rates could lower our reported revenues and could require us to reduce our prices to remain competitive in foreign markets, which could also reduce our profitability. We are also subject to potentially increasing transportation and shipping costs associated with international operations. Furthermore, we are also exposed to risks associated with changes in the laws and policies governing foreign investments in countries where we have operations, as well as changes in U.S. laws and regulations relating to foreign trade and investment.

Labor disputes, labor shortages and increased turnover or increases in employee and employee-related costs could disrupt our operations, divert the attention of our management and may cause a decline in our production and a reduction in our profitability.

Many of our employees are represented by a number of different labor unions and are covered under numerous labor agreements. Typically, a number of our labor agreements are scheduled to expire each year. We may not be able to reach new agreements without union action or on terms satisfactory to us. Any future labor disputes with any such unions could result in strikes or other labor protests, which could disrupt our operations and divert the attention of our management from operating our business. If we were to experience a strike or work stoppage, it may be difficult for us to find a sufficient number of employees with the necessary skills to replace these employees. Any such labor disputes could cause a decline in our production and a reduction in our profitability.

We have recently experienced increased labor shortages at some of our production facilities and other locations. A number of factors have had, and may continue to have, adverse effects on the labor force available to us, including reduced employment pools, unemployment subsidies, including unemployment benefits, and other government regulations, which include laws and regulations related to workers’ health and safety, wage and hour practices and immigration. Labor shortages and increased turnover rates within our workforce have led to, and could in the future lead to, increased costs, such as increased overtime to meet demand and increased wage rates to attract and retain employees and could negatively affect our ability to efficiently operate our production facilities or otherwise operate at full capacity. An overall or prolonged labor shortage, lack of skilled labor, increased turnover or labor inflation could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial condition, cash flows and liquidity.

Our post-retirement obligations are currently underfunded. We may be required to make significant cash payments to our pension and other post-retirement plans, which will reduce the cash available for our business.

As of December 31, 2023, our benefit obligation under our defined benefit pension plans exceeded the fair value of plan assets by $26.2 million. Our pension asset funding to total pension obligation ratio was 83 percent as of December 31, 2023. The underfunding was caused, in large part, by fluctuations in the financial markets that impacted the value of the assets in our defined benefit pension plans and by fluctuations in interest rates which increased the discounted pension liabilities. In addition, our obligations for other post-retirement benefits are unfunded and total $6.2 million at December 31, 2023.

During the years ended December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, we contributed $2.7 million and $1.6 million, respectively, to our post-retirement benefit plans. For normal plan operations, management expects that any future obligations under our post-retirement benefit plans that are not currently funded will be funded from our future cash flow from operations. If our contributions to our post-retirement benefit plans are insufficient to fund the post-retirement benefit plans adequately to cover our future obligations, the performance of the assets in our pension plans does not meet our expectations or other actuarial assumptions or mandatory funding laws are modified, our contributions to our post-retirement benefit plans could be materially higher than we expect, thus reducing the cash available for our business.

We may incur significant charges in the event we close all or part of a manufacturing plant or facility.

We periodically assess our manufacturing operations in order to manufacture and distribute our products in the most efficient manner. Based on our assessments, we may make capital improvements to modernize certain units, move manufacturing or distribution capabilities from one plant or facility to another plant or facility, discontinue manufacturing or distributing certain products or close all or part of a manufacturing plant or facility, any of which could cause us to incur significant charges. The actual costs to close a manufacturing facility may exceed our original cost estimate and may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, cash flow from operations and results from operations.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

We may be subject to information technology systems failures, network disruptions and breaches of data security, which could harm our relationships with our customers and third-party business partners, subject us to negative publicity and litigation and cause substantial harm to our business.

We depend on integrated information systems to conduct our business. Information technology systems failures could disrupt our operations by impeding our processing of transactions, our ability to protect customer or company information and our financial reporting. System failures include risks associated with upgrading our systems, integrating information technology and other systems in connection with the integration of businesses we acquire, network disruptions and breaches of data security. Our computer systems, including our back-up systems, could be damaged or interrupted by power outages, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, internal or external security breaches, events such as fires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, and/or errors by our employees.

We have been subject to cyberattacks in the past, including phishing and malware incidents, and although no such attack has had a material adverse effect on our business, this may not be the case with future attacks. As the prevalence of cyberattacks continues to increase, our information technology systems may be subject to increased security threats and we may incur additional costs to upgrade and maintain our security measures in place to prevent and detect such threats. The security and privacy measures that our vendors and customers implement may not be sufficient to prevent and detect cyberattacks that could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. While our vendor agreements typically contain provisions that seek to eliminate or limit our exposure to liability for damages from a cyberattack, we cannot assure that such provisions will withstand legal challenges or cover all or any such damages.

In addition, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or customers to disclose access credentials or other sensitive information in order to gain access to our systems and networks. We also may be subject to additional vulnerabilities as we integrate the systems, computers, software and data of acquired businesses and third-party business partners into our networks and separate the systems, computers, software and data of disposed businesses from our networks.

There are no assurances that our security measures, our business continuity and disaster recovery plans or actions or our investments to improve the maturity of our systems, processes and risk management framework to remediate vulnerabilities will be sufficient or completed quickly enough to prevent or detect or limit the impact of critical adverse events such as cyberattacks or security breaches. Potential consequences include, but are not limited to, transactional errors, business disruptions, loss of or damage to intellectual property, loss of customers and business opportunities, unauthorized access to or disclosure of confidential or personal information, regulatory fines, penalties or litigation, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensatory costs and additional compliance costs. Any of these could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock

You may not receive dividends because our board of directors could, in its discretion, depart from or change our dividend policy at any time.

We are not required to pay dividends, and our shareholders are not guaranteed, and do not have contractual rights, to receive dividends. Our board of directors may decide at any time, in its discretion, to change or revoke our dividend policy. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon results of operations, financial condition, contractual restrictions, restrictions imposed by applicable law and other factors our board of directors deems relevant.

The ability of Koppers Inc. and its subsidiaries to pay dividends or make other payments or distributions to us will depend on our operating results and may be restricted by, among other things, the covenants in our Credit Facility. Our ability to pay dividends is also limited by Pennsylvania law and may in the future be limited by the covenants of any future outstanding indebtedness we or our subsidiaries incur. If a dividend is paid in violation of Pennsylvania law, each director approving the dividend could be liable to the corporation if the director did not act with such care as a person of ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances. Directors are entitled to rely in good faith on information provided by employees of the corporation and experts retained by the corporation. Directors who are held liable would be entitled to receive a contribution to any such liability from any shareholders who received an unlawful dividend knowing it to be unlawful. Furthermore, we are a holding company with no operations, and unless we receive dividends, distributions, advances, transfers of funds or other payments from our subsidiaries, we will be unable to pay dividends on our common stock.

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Provisions of our charter documents may inhibit a takeover, which could negatively affect our stock price.

Provisions of our charter documents and the Business Corporation Law of Pennsylvania, the state in which we are incorporated, could discourage potential acquisition proposals or make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of our company, even if doing so might be beneficial to our shareholders. Our Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation (our Articles of Incorporation) and our Third Amended and Restated Bylaws (our Bylaws) provide for various procedural and other requirements that could make it more difficult for shareholders to effect certain corporate actions. For example, our Articles of Incorporation authorize our board of directors to determine the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions of unissued series of preferred stock without any vote or action by our shareholders. Our board of directors can therefore authorize and issue shares of preferred stock with voting or conversion rights that could adversely affect the voting or other rights of holders of our common stock. The following additional provisions could make it more difficult for shareholders to effect certain corporate actions:

Our shareholders will be able to remove directors only for cause by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote in the election of directors. Vacancies on our board of directors may be filled only by our board of directors.
Under Pennsylvania law, cumulative voting rights are available to the holders of our common stock if our Articles of Incorporation have not negated cumulative voting. Our Articles of Incorporation provide that our shareholders do not have the right to cumulative votes in the election of directors.
Our Articles of Incorporation do not permit shareholder action without a meeting by consent except for the unanimous consent of all holders of our common stock. The Articles of Incorporation also provide that special meetings of our shareholders may be called only by the board of directors or the chairman of the board of directors.
Our Bylaws provide that shareholders seeking to nominate candidates for election as directors or to bring business before an annual meeting of shareholders must provide timely notice of their proposal in writing to the corporate secretary.

These provisions may discourage acquisition proposals and may make it more difficult or expensive for a third party to acquire a majority of our outstanding voting stock or may delay, prevent or deter a merger, acquisition, tender offer or proxy contest, which may negatively affect our stock price.

General Risk Factors

Conditions in the global economy and global capital markets may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

In recent history, the U.S. and global economy and capital markets have experienced significant uncertainties and volatility. Our business and operating results can be significantly affected by global economic issues. Our customers may experience deterioration of their business during the adverse business cycles. They may experience cash flow shortages and may have difficulty obtaining financing. As a result, our customers may delay or cancel plans to purchase our products and may not be able to fulfill their payment obligations to us in a timely fashion. Our suppliers may be experiencing similar conditions which could impact their ability to supply us with raw materials and otherwise fulfill their obligations to us. If global economic conditions deteriorate significantly, there could be a material adverse effect to our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

In addition, we rely on our Credit Facility with a consortium of banks to provide us with liquidity to meet our working capital needs. Our ability to fund our liquidity needs and working capital requirements could be impacted in the event that disruptions in the credit markets result in the banks being unable to lend to us under our Credit Facility.

Global economic issues could prevent us from accurately forecasting demand for our products, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and our financial condition.

Adverse global economic issues, market instability and volatile commodity price fluctuations make it increasingly difficult for us, our customers and our suppliers to accurately forecast future product demands and sales prices, which could cause us to procure raw materials in excess of end-product demand. This could cause a material increase to our inventory carrying costs and, in the event of falling market prices for our end products, result in significant charges to write-down inventory to market prices.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Health concerns arising from the outbreak of a health epidemic or pandemic may have an adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

Health epidemics or pandemics may have a significant impact on global markets as a result of supply chain and production disruptions, workforce restrictions, reduced spending and other factors. Our operating results are subject to fluctuations based on general economic conditions, and the extent to which a health epidemic or pandemic ultimately may impact our business will depend on future developments, such as the efficacy of spread prevention measures and new vaccines, the duration of the outbreak and business closures or business disruptions for us, our suppliers and our customers, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence.

Any resulting financial distress of our customers due to deterioration in economic conditions could result in reduced sales and decreased collectability of accounts receivable, which would negatively impact our results of operations, cash flows and liquidity. A health epidemic or pandemic also could have a material impact on our ability to obtain the raw materials and parts that we need in order to manufacture our products as our suppliers face disruptions in their businesses or closures. If our suppliers fail to meet our manufacturing needs, it could delay our production and shipments to customers and negatively affect our operations, cash flows and liquidity.

To the extent a future health epidemic or pandemic adversely affects our business and financial results, it also may have the effect of increasing many of the other risks described herein.

We may not be able to compete successfully in any or all of the industry segments in which we operate.

The markets in which we operate are highly competitive, and this competition could harm our business, results of operations, cash flow and financial condition. If we are unable to respond successfully to changing competitive conditions, the demand for our products could be affected. We believe that the most significant competitive factor for our products is selling price.

Our products may be rendered obsolete or less attractive by changes in regulatory, legislative or industry requirements.

Changes in regulatory, legislative or industry requirements may render certain of our products obsolete or less attractive. Our ability to anticipate changes in these requirements, especially changes in regulatory standards, will be a significant factor in our ability to remain competitive. We may not be able to comply in the future with new regulatory, legislative and/or industrial standards that may be necessary for us to remain competitive and certain of our products may, as a result, become obsolete or less attractive to our customers.

Changes in applicable tax regulations and resolutions of tax disputes could negatively affect our financial results.

We are subject to income tax laws and regulations in the United States and various foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in evaluating and estimating our provision and accruals for these taxes. Our income tax liabilities are dependent upon the location of earnings among these different jurisdictions. Our income tax provision and income tax liabilities could be adversely affected by the jurisdictional mix of earnings, changes in valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities and changes in tax laws and regulations. For example, many countries have started to implement legislation and other guidance to align their international tax rules with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting recommendations and action plan that aim to standardize and modernize global corporate tax policy, including changes to cross-border tax, transfer pricing documentation rules and nexus-based tax incentive practices. The OECD is also continuing discussions surrounding fundamental changes in allocation of profits among tax jurisdictions in which companies do business, as well as the implementation of a global minimum tax.

In the ordinary course of our business, we are also subject to continuous examinations of our income tax returns by tax authorities. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final results of any tax examination or related litigation could be materially different from our related historical income tax provisions and accruals. Adverse developments in an audit, examination or litigation related to previously filed tax returns, or in the relevant jurisdiction’s tax laws, regulations, administrative practices, principles and interpretations could have a material effect on our results of operations and cash flows in the period or periods for which that development occurs, as well as for subsequent periods.

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Our strategy to selectively pursue complementary acquisitions may present unforeseen obstacles, risks or costs.

Our business strategy includes the potential acquisition of businesses and entering into joint ventures and other business combinations that we expect would complement and expand our existing products and the markets where we sell our products. We may not be able to successfully identify suitable acquisition or joint venture opportunities or complete any particular acquisition, combination, joint venture or other transaction on acceptable terms. We cannot predict the timing and success of our efforts to acquire any particular business. Also, efforts to acquire other businesses or the implementation of other elements of this business strategy may divert managerial resources away from our business operations. In addition, our ability to engage in strategic acquisitions may depend on our ability to raise substantial capital and we may not be able to raise the funds necessary to implement our acquisition strategy on terms satisfactory to us, if at all. Our failure to identify suitable acquisition or joint venture opportunities may restrict our ability to grow our business. In addition, we may not be able to successfully integrate businesses that we acquire in the future or have recently acquired, which could lead to increased operating costs, a failure to realize anticipated operating synergies, or both.

We depend on our senior management team and other key employees and the loss of these employees could adversely affect our business.

Our success is dependent on the management, experience and leadership skills of our senior management team and key employees. The loss of any of these individuals or an inability to attract, retain and maintain additional personnel with similar industry experience could prevent us from implementing our business strategy. We cannot assure you that we will be able to retain our existing senior management and key personnel or to attract additional qualified personnel when needed. Senior management or key personnel may retire or resign from time to time.

Our stock price may be extremely volatile.

There has been significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of equity securities, which is unrelated to the financial performance of the companies issuing the securities. These types of broad market fluctuations may negatively affect the market price of our common stock.

Some specific factors that may have a significant effect on our common stock market price include the following:

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results or future prospects;
the public’s reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements and our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission;
strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions or restructurings;
new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws or regulations applicable to our business;
changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;
adverse conditions in the financial markets or general economic conditions, including those resulting from war, pandemic, incidents of terrorism and responses to such events;
sales of common stock by us, members of our management team or a significant shareholder;
changes in stock market analyst recommendations or earnings estimates regarding our common stock or other comparable companies; and
changes in our current dividend policy or the elimination, reduction or suspension of our dividend.

We cannot predict the extent to which investor interest in our company will continue to support an active trading market for our common stock on the New York Stock Exchange (the NYSE) or otherwise or how liquid that market will continue to be. If there does not continue to be an active trading market for our common stock, you may have difficulty selling any of our common stock that you buy.

If securities analysts or industry analysts publish negative research or reports, or do not publish reports about our business, our share price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock is influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us, our business and our industry. If one or more analysts adversely change their recommendation regarding our shares or our competitors’ stock, our share price would likely decline. If one or more analysts cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our share price or trading volume to decline.

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Future sales, or the perception of future sales, of a substantial amount of our common stock may depress the price of the shares of our common stock.

Future sales, or the perception or the availability for sale in the public market, of substantial amounts of our common stock could adversely affect the prevailing market price of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through future sales of equity securities at a time and price that we deem appropriate.

We may issue shares of our common stock, or other securities, from time to time as consideration for future acquisitions and investments. We may also issue shares of our common stock, or other securities, in connection with employee stock compensation programs, employee stock purchase programs and board of directors’ compensation. In addition, we may issue shares of our common stock or other securities in public or private offerings as part of our efforts to raise additional capital. In the event any such acquisition, investment, issuance under stock compensation programs or offering is significant, the number of shares of our common stock or the number or aggregate principal amount, as the case may be, of other securities that we may issue may in turn be significant. We may also grant registration rights covering those shares or other securities in connection with any such acquisitions and investments. Any additional capital raised through the sale of our equity securities may dilute your percentage ownership in us.

Our ability to raise capital in the future may be limited.

Our ability to raise capital in the future may be limited. Our business and operations may consume resources faster than we anticipate. In the future, we may need to raise additional funds through the issuance of new equity securities, debt or a combination of both. Additional financing may not be available on favorable terms, or at all. If adequate funds are not available on acceptable terms, we may be unable to fund our capital requirements. If we issue new debt securities, the debt holders would have rights senior to common shareholders to make claims on our assets, and the terms of any debt could restrict our operations, including our ability to pay dividends on our common stock. If we issue additional equity securities, existing shareholders will experience dilution, and the new equity securities could have rights senior to those of our common stock. Because our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, our shareholders bear the risk of our future securities offerings diluting their interest and reducing the market price of our common stock.

The failure of financial institutions or transactional counterparties could adversely affect our current and projected business operations and our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations.

We regularly maintain domestic cash deposits in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured banks which exceed the FDIC insurance limits. We also maintain cash deposits in foreign banks where we operate, some of which are not insured or are only partially insured by the FDIC or other similar agencies. The failure of a bank, or events involving limited liquidity, defaults, non-performance or other adverse conditions in the financial or credit markets impacting financial institutions at which we maintain balances, or concerns or rumors about such events, may lead to disruptions in access to our bank deposits or otherwise adversely impact our liquidity and financial condition. There can be no assurance that our deposits in excess of the FDIC or other comparable insurance limits will be backstopped by the U.S. or applicable foreign government, or that any bank or financial institution with which we do business will be able to obtain needed liquidity from other banks, government institutions or by acquisition in the event of a failure or liquidity crisis.

In addition, instability, liquidity constraints or other distress in the financial markets, including the effects of bank failures, defaults, non-performance or other adverse developments that affect financial institutions could impair the ability of one or more of the banks participating in our current or any future credit agreement from honoring their commitments under the credit agreement or situations where the banks serve as a counterparty on our derivative swap agreements. This could have a material adverse effect on our business if we were not able to replace those commitments or locate other sources of liquidity on acceptable terms.

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 1C. CYBERSECURITY

We are committed to ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data that is owned and managed by us. We are also committed to protecting confidential information that is shared with us by our business partners. The cybersecurity program at Koppers has been designed based on an industry standard cybersecurity framework and is aligned with local and regional compliance requirements. The cybersecurity program is reviewed periodically by an independent third-party, and the results are shared with the board of directors. Components of the cybersecurity program are guided by the results of the independent third-party assessment. The cybersecurity program is part of the larger Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) program which is reviewed by management and the board of directors on a periodic basis. Compliance with the cybersecurity program is ensured via policies, procedures, training, and systems.

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Information security policies at Koppers lay out the guardrails that ensure compliance with the program. Examples of guardrails set within the information security policies at Koppers include application of the principle of least privilege when granting access (the principle that a user or entity should only have access to the specific data, resources and applications needed to complete a required task), logging and monitoring activity of privileged accounts, authorized physical and logical access to information technology (IT) systems, and requiring maintenance of confidentiality of non-public information. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) ensure accuracy and completeness of various IT tasks being performed throughout the organization. SOPs include incorporating data processing agreements in contracts, commissioning and decommissioning of IT systems, granting role-based user access, patch management, and change management. Training is conducted regularly for all employees who interact with Koppers IT systems. Specialized training is also conducted for employees who deal with sensitive data. Security systems have been deployed to manage vulnerabilities within the IT environment, and periodic penetration tests validate the Koppers security posture.

IT systems are protected using various tools like multi-factor authentication (MFA), virtual private network (VPN), firewalls, end-point protection, spam and web filters, mobile device management, and privileged access management. A third-party monitoring service aids in detecting any threats or anomalies with the network. A multi-department incident response plan has been developed to facilitate a swift response in the event of a cybersecurity incident, which includes notifying the appropriate regulatory agencies. IT systems critical to the business operations have been identified and plans have been developed for a swift recovery of IT services in the event of a service failure. We utilize various IT cloud service providers. Annual security reviews of all service providers that provide critical service to the business are conducted. A cybersecurity risk assessment is conducted prior to contracting with a new IT cloud service provider providing high-impact services.

The Strategy and Risk Committee of the board of directors is composed of board members with diverse experience that allows them to oversee cybersecurity risks effectively. We have a Vice President, Information Technology with over 20 years of experience at Koppers in various positions of increasing responsibility within the IT function, working on initiatives related to enterprise resource planning systems, mobile computing, data analytics, SOX compliance, and cybersecurity. Prior to working at Koppers, the Vice President, Information Technology worked at a global technology consulting company implementing software solutions. This position plays a pivotal role in informing management, the Strategy and Risk Committee and the board of directors on cybersecurity risks. An update on the cybersecurity program is provided to the board of directors quarterly. As of the date of this report, we have not experienced a material information security incident.

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

The following chart sets forth information regarding our production facilities. Generally, our production and port facilities are suitable and adequate for the purposes for which they are intended and overall have sufficient capacity to conduct business in the upcoming year.

Primary Product Line

 

Location

 

Description of

Property Interest

 

Railroad and Utility Products and Services

 

 

 

 

 

Rail joint bars

 

Huntington, West Virginia

 

Leased

 

Railroad crosstie materials recovery

 

Domino, Texas

 

Leased

 

Railroad crosstie materials recovery

 

L’Anse, Michigan

 

Leased

 

Railroad crossties

 

Ashcroft, British Columbia, Canada

 

Owned

 

Railroad crossties

 

Camden, Arkansas

 

Owned/Leased

 

Railroad crossties

 

Florence, South Carolina

 

Owned

 

Railroad crossties

 

Galesburg, Illinois

 

Leased

 

Railroad crossties

 

Guthrie, Kentucky

 

Owned

 

Railroad crossties

 

Muncy, Pennsylvania

 

Owned

 

Railroad crossties

 

North Little Rock, Arkansas

 

Owned

 

Railroad crossties

 

Roanoke, Virginia

 

Owned

 

Railroad crossties

 

Williamsville, Missouri

 

Owned

 

Railroad crossties and utility poles

 

Somerville, Texas

 

Owned

 

Railroad structures

 

Madison, Wisconsin

 

Owned

 

Utility poles

 

Bunbury, Western Australia, Australia

 

Owned/Leased

 

Utility poles

 

Eutawville, South Carolina

 

Owned

 

Utility poles

 

Grafton, New South Wales, Australia

 

Owned

 

Utility poles

 

Leesville, Louisiana

 

Owned

 

Utility poles

 

Leland, North Carolina

 

Owned

 

Utility poles

 

Longford, Tasmania, Australia

 

Owned

 

Utility poles

 

Newsoms, Virginia

 

Owned

 

Utility poles

 

North, South Carolina

 

Owned

 

Utility poles

 

Takura, Queensland, Australia

 

Leased

 

Utility poles

 

Vance, Alabama

 

Leased

 

Utility poles

 

Vidalia, Georgia

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance Chemicals

 

 

 

 

 

Intermediate copper products

 

Hubbell, Michigan

 

Leased

 

Wood preservation chemicals

 

Auckland, New Zealand

 

Owned

 

Wood preservation chemicals

 

Darlington, United Kingdom

 

Owned

 

Wood preservation chemicals

 

Geelong, Victoria, Australia

 

Owned

 

Wood preservation chemicals

 

Millington, Tennessee

 

Owned

 

Wood preservation chemicals

 

Mt. Gambier, South Australia, Australia

 

Owned

 

Wood preservation chemicals

 

Rock Hill, South Carolina

 

Owned

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carbon Materials and Chemicals

 

 

 

 

 

Carbon products

 

Mayfield, New South Wales, Australia

 

Owned

 

Carbon products

 

Nyborg, Denmark

 

Owned/Leased

 

Carbon products and phthalic anhydride

 

Stickney, Illinois

 

Owned

 

Our corporate offices are located in leased office space in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The lease term expires on December 31, 2028. We also own office space in Griffin, Georgia.

We are involved in litigation and other proceedings relating to environmental laws and regulations, toxic tort, product liability and other matters. An adverse outcome for certain of these cases could result in a material adverse effect on our business, cash flows and results of operations. The information related to legal matters set forth in Note 17 to the Consolidated Financial Statements of Koppers Holdings Inc. included in Item 8 of Part II of this report is incorporated herein by reference.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

The following table sets forth the names, ages and positions of our and Koppers Inc.’s executive officers as of February 28, 2024. Our executive officers hold their positions until the annual meeting of the board of directors or until their respective successors are elected and qualified.

Name

 

Age

 

Position

Stephanie L. Apostolou

 

43

 

General Counsel and Secretary, Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc., and Director of Koppers Inc.

Leroy M. Ball

 

55

 

Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc.

Joseph P. Dowd

 

63

 

Global Vice President, Zero Harm, Koppers Inc.

Leslie S. Hyde

 

63

 

Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Koppers Inc.

Stephen G. Lucas

 

58

 

Vice President, Culture and Engagement, Koppers Inc.

Bradley A. Pearce

 

57

 

Chief Accounting Officer, Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc.

Daniel J. Skrovanek

 

62

 

Vice President, Growth and Innovation, Koppers Inc.

Jimmi Sue Smith

 

51

 

Chief Financial Officer, Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc., and Director of Koppers Inc.

James A. Sullivan

 

60

 

President and Chief Operating Officer, Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc.

Kevin Washington

 

55

 

Vice President, External Affairs, Koppers Inc.

Ms. Apostolou has served as General Counsel and Secretary of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. since March 2020. From January 2019 to February 2020, Ms. Apostolou served as Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc.

Mr. Ball has served as Chief Executive Officer of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. since January 2024. Mr. Ball served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. from January 2015 to December 2023. Mr. Ball has served as a Director of Koppers Holdings Inc. since February 2015 and as a Director of Koppers Inc. since May 2013.

Mr. Dowd has served as Global Vice President, Zero Harm, Koppers Inc. since January 2020. From January 2016 to December 2019, Mr. Dowd served as Global Vice President, Safety, Health, Environmental, and Process Excellence, Koppers Inc.

Ms. Hyde has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Koppers Inc. since January 2020. From November 2017 to December 2019, Ms. Hyde served as Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Risk Management, Koppers Inc.

Mr. Lucas has served as Vice President, Culture and Engagement, Koppers Inc. since April 2022. Prior to joining Koppers, from July 2014 to April 2022, Mr. Lucas served as Vice President, Human Resources of AMETEK, Inc., a publicly traded manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices.

Mr. Pearce has served as Chief Accounting Officer, Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. since May 2019. From April 2008 to April 2019, Mr. Pearce served as Director, Corporate Control and Taxes, Koppers Inc.

Mr. Skrovanek has served as Vice President, Growth and Innovation, Koppers Inc. since March 2022. From January 2020 to March 2022, Mr. Skrovanek served as Vice President, Purchasing and Strategic Marketing, Koppers Inc. From April 2018 to December 2019, Mr. Skrovanek served as Vice President, Railroad Maintenance of Way.

Ms. Smith has served as Chief Financial Officer of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. since February 2022. From January 2022 to February 2022, Ms. Smith served as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. From February 2020 to December 2021, Ms. Smith served as Vice President, Finance and Treasurer of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. Ms. Smith has served as a Director of Koppers Inc. since January 2022. Prior to joining Koppers, from November 2018 to August 2019, Ms. Smith served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of EQT Corporation (EQT), a publicly traded natural gas production company.

Mr. Sullivan has served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. since January 2024. Mr. Sullivan served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Koppers Holdings Inc. and Koppers Inc. from January 2020 to December 2023. From May 2018 to December 2019, Mr. Sullivan served as Senior Vice President, Railroad Products and Services and Global Carbon Materials and Chemicals, Koppers Inc.

Mr. Washington has served as Vice President, External Affairs, Koppers Inc. since June 2022. Prior to joining Koppers, from October 2012 to June 2022, Mr. Washington served as Head of Government Affairs of Illinois Tool Works Inc., a publicly traded manufacturer of industrial products and equipment.

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Our shares of common stock are listed and traded on the NYSE under the symbol KOP.

The number of registered holders of Koppers common stock at January 31, 2024 was 58.

Dividend Policy

Our dividend policy provides for quarterly dividends, payable at the discretion of our board of directors. Dividends will be considered if cash generated by our business is in excess of our expected cash needs. Our expected cash needs include operating expenses and working capital requirements, interest and principal payments on our indebtedness, capital expenditures, incremental costs associated with being a public company, acquisitions, taxes and certain other costs. On an annual basis we expect to pay dividends, if declared, with cash flow from operations, but, due to seasonal or other temporary fluctuations in cash flow, we may from time to time use temporary short-term borrowings to pay quarterly dividends.

We are not required to pay dividends, and our shareholders will not be guaranteed, or have contractual or other rights, to receive dividends. Accordingly, our board of directors may decide, in its discretion, at any time, to otherwise modify or repeal the dividend policy. On February 14, 2024, the board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.07 cents per common share, payable on March 25, 2024 to shareholders of record as of March 8, 2024. Prior to February 2022, we had not declared a dividend since November 2014. Any future determination to declare and pay dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors, after taking into account our financial results, capital requirements and other factors it may deem relevant.

Because we are a holding company, substantially all the assets shown on our consolidated balance sheet are held by our subsidiaries. Accordingly, our earnings and cash flow and our ability to pay dividends are dependent upon the earnings and cash flows of our subsidiaries and the distribution or other payment of such earnings to us in the form of dividends. Our ability to pay dividends is restricted by limitations on the ability of our only direct subsidiary, Koppers Inc., to pay dividends, as a result of limitations imposed by the Credit Facility and by Pennsylvania law. See Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Liquidity and Capital Resources – Restrictions on Dividends to Koppers Holdings.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

The following table sets forth information regarding Koppers Holdings’ repurchases of shares of its common stock during the three months ended December 31, 2023:

Period

 

Total Number of Common Shares Purchased (1)

 

 

Average Price Paid per Common Share

 

 

Total Number of Common Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs

 

 

Approximate Dollar Value of Common Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs (Dollars in Millions)

 

October 1 – October 31

 

 

0

 

 

$

0.00

 

 

 

0

 

 

$

64.4

 

November 1 – November 30

 

 

180,389

 

 

$

42.02

 

 

 

180,389

 

 

$

56.8

 

December 1 – December 31

 

 

236,100

 

 

$

48.57

 

 

 

236,100

 

 

$

54.1

 

Total

 

 

416,489

 

 

 

 

 

 

416,489

 

 

 

 

(1)
On August 6, 2021, we announced that the board of directors approved a $100 million share repurchase program. The repurchase program has no expiration date.

 

ITEM 6. RESERVED

 

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Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Overview

See description of the segments in Item 1 – Business.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

We utilize certain financial measures that are not in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP) to analyze and manage the performance of our business. We believe that adjusted EBITDA provides information useful to investors in understanding the underlying operational performance of the company, our business and performance trends, and facilitates comparisons between periods. The exclusion of certain items permits evaluation and a comparison between periods of results for business operations, and it is on this basis that our management internally assesses our performance. Adjusted EBITDA is the primary measure of profitability we use to evaluate our businesses. In addition, adjusted EBITDA is the primary measure used to determine the level of achievement of management's short-term incentive goals and related payout, as well as one of the measures used to determine performance and related payouts for certain performance share units granted to management.

Although we believe that these non-GAAP financial measures enhance investors’ understanding of our business and performance, these non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered an alternative to GAAP financial measures and should be read in conjunction with the relevant GAAP financial measures. Other companies in a similar industry may define or calculate these measures differently than we do, limiting their usefulness as comparative measures. Because of these limitations, these non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered in isolation or as substitutes for performance measures calculated in accordance with GAAP.

Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure defined as income from continuing operations before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization and other adjustments. These other adjustments are items that we believe are not representative of underlying business performance. Adjusted items typically include certain expenses associated with impairment, restructuring and plant closure costs, significant gains and losses on asset disposals or business combinations, LIFO, mark-to-market commodity hedging and other unusual items. The LIFO expense adjustment removes the entire impact of LIFO and effectively reflects the results as if we were on a FIFO inventory basis. An Adjusted EBITDA Reconciliation is presented in the Segment Results section and reconciles net income to adjusted EBITDA on a consolidated basis.

We do not provide reconciliations of guidance for adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EPS to comparable GAAP measures, in reliance on the unreasonable efforts exception. We are unable, without unreasonable efforts, to forecast certain items required to develop meaningful comparable GAAP financial measures. These items include, but are not limited to, restructuring and impairment charges, acquisition-related costs, mark-to-market commodity hedging, and LIFO adjustments that are difficult to forecast for a GAAP estimate and may be significant.

Outlook

We remain committed to expanding and optimizing our business and making continued progress towards our long-term financial goals. After considering global economic conditions, as well as ongoing uncertainty associated with geopolitical and supply chain challenges, the following summarizes our 2024 financial goals:

sales of approximately $2.25 billion,
adjusted EBITDA of approximately $275 million, and
capital expenditures of approximately $100 million, including capitalized interest, with approximately $29 million of the total allocated to discretionary projects.

Our keys to success for 2024 are the following:

For our RUPS segment, we need to (i) recoup cost increases, including the value of our creosote preservative in the market, (ii) ensure our facilities run uninterrupted to serve customer demand and (iii) maximize opportunities for increased volumes, including expanding our customer base into the Texas utility pole market.
For our PC segment, we need to (i) increase market share for certain newer product lines and (ii) improve gross margin by reducing costs.
For our CMC segment, we need to (i) optimize production from our yield enhancement project at our facility in Nyborg, Denmark, (ii) push acceptance of petroleum-blended products, which mitigates reductions in coal tar volumes and (iii) execute on domestic plant optimization projects.

 

29


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Significant market indicators for our businesses include:

The Railway Tie Association’s estimate of total crosstie installations in 2024, which is approximately 18.5 million ties, with 14.7 million for Class I railroads. This is consistent with 2023 crosstie installations of approximately 18.4 million crossties with the small increase expected to be from the commercial market.
According to BMO Capital Markets, market demand for utility poles is expected to remain high throughout 2024 as a result of aging pole infrastructure, efforts to strengthen poles against larger and more frequent storms, a need to add larger poles to support continued electrification and expansion of broadband access.
The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) reported by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, predicts a moderate 6.5 percent decrease in annual homeowner renovation and maintenance expenditures through the fourth quarter of 2024 with annual spending on home improvements and repairs expected to drop from $481 billion to $450 billion over the next four quarters.
For the external markets served by our CMC business, we anticipate a slowdown in the near-term in manufacturing overall as well as in the steel, aluminum and carbon black industries. The December 2023 S&P Global Mobility forecast saw global light-vehicle sales increasing by 2.8 percent from the prior year and reaching 88.3 million units globally in 2024.

Our businesses and results of operations are affected by various competitive and other factors including (i) the impact of global economic conditions on demand for our products, including the impact of imported products from competitors in certain regions where we operate; (ii) raw material pricing and availability, in particular the cost and availability of hardwood lumber for railroad crossties, softwood lumber for utility poles, scrap copper prices, and the cost and amount of coal tar available in global markets, which is negatively affected by reductions in blast furnace steel production; (iii) volatility in oil prices, which impacts the cost of coal tar and certain other raw materials, as well as selling prices and margins for certain of our products including carbon black feedstock, phthalic anhydride, and naphthalene; (iv) competitive conditions in global carbon pitch markets; and (v) changes in foreign exchange rates. Any or all of these factors could impact our actual results for 2024.

Results of Operations – Comparison of Years Ended December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022

Consolidated Results

Net sales for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 are summarized by segment in the following table:

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2023

 

 

2022

 

 

Change

 

 

% Change

 

(Dollars in millions)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Railroad and Utility Products and Services

 

$

897.9

 

 

$

788.3

 

 

$

109.6

 

 

 

14

%

Performance Chemicals

 

 

671.6

 

 

 

579.9

 

 

 

91.7

 

 

 

16

%

Carbon Materials and Chemicals

 

 

584.7

 

 

 

612.3

 

 

 

(27.6

)

 

 

-5

%

 

 

$

2,154.2

 

 

$

1,980.5

 

 

$

173.7

 

 

 

9

%

 

RUPS net sales increased largely due to $83.5 million of pricing increases across multiple markets, particularly for crossties and utility poles. Volume increases for Class I crossties and higher activity in our crosstie recovery business also contributed to the increase. These increases were partly offset by lower activity in our other maintenance of way businesses and a 2.5 percent volume decrease in our utility pole businesses. Foreign currency changes compared to the prior year period had an unfavorable impact on sales in the current year period of $2.0 million, mainly from our Australian utility pole business.

PC net sales increased as a result of global price increases of $75.5 million, or 13 percent in the current year period, particularly in the Americas for our copper-based preservatives. Volumes increased by 3.6 percent globally, including a 7.7 percent increase in the Americas, partly offset by volume decreases in Australasia and Europe. Foreign currency changes compared to the prior year period had an unfavorable impact on sales in the current year period of $4.3 million.

CMC net sales decreased due mainly to $27.3 million of volume decreases, primarily phthalic anhydride and carbon pitch, partly offset by volume increases for refined tar. Pricing had a minimal impact on sales for the year as higher prices for carbon pitch in the first half of the year were offset by lower prices for chemical products. Foreign currency changes compared to the prior year period from our international markets had a favorable impact on sales in the current year period of $0.7 million.

 

30


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Cost of sales as a percentage of net sales was 80 percent, compared to 83 percent in the prior year period as global price increases helped offset increased raw material and operating costs incurred in 2022 and 2023 on a consolidated basis and across most of our businesses. Significant items impacting cost of sales in individual operating segments are discussed as part of "Segment adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin" herein.

Gain on sale of assets for 2023 was related to the demolition of our closed coal tar distillation facility located in China, while the prior year gain was related to the sale of our utility pole treating facility in Sweetwater, Tennessee.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $20.8 million higher when compared to the prior year period due mainly to an increase in compensation related costs along with an increase in bank fees and travel expenses. These increases were partly offset by a reduction in professional services and insurance costs.

Interest expense was $26.2 million higher when compared to the prior year period, due primarily to higher interest rates and an increase in the write-off of debt issuance costs of $1.6 million related to the repayment of the 2025 Notes as described in Note 15 – Debt.

Income tax expense increased by $3.2 million when compared to the prior year period due to higher income from continuing operations before income taxes. This increase was partially offset by a lower effective income tax rate when compared to the prior year period. The lower effective income tax rate is due mainly to the geographical mix of earnings as shown in the effective income tax reconciliation in Note 10 – Income Taxes.

Segment Results

Segment adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 are summarized in the following table:

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Dollars in millions)

 

2023

 

 

2022

 

 

Change

 

 

% Change

 

Adjusted EBITDA:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Railroad and Utility Products and Services

 

$

84.0

 

 

$

53.6

 

 

$

30.4

 

 

 

57

%

Performance Chemicals

 

 

123.1

 

 

 

75.5

 

 

 

47.6

 

 

 

63

%

Carbon Materials and Chemicals

 

 

49.3

 

 

 

99.0

 

 

 

(49.7

)

 

 

-50

%

Total Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

256.4

 

 

$

228.1

 

 

$

28.3

 

 

 

12

%

Adjusted EBITDA margin as a percentage of GAAP sales:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Railroad and Utility Products and Services

 

 

9.4

%

 

 

6.8

%

 

 

2.6

%

 

 

38

%

Performance Chemicals

 

 

18.3

%

 

 

13.0

%

 

 

5.3

%

 

 

41

%

Carbon Materials and Chemicals

 

 

8.4

%

 

 

16.2

%

 

 

-7.8

%

 

 

-48

%

RUPS adjusted EBITDA increased due primarily to net sales price increases and $19.9 million from improved plant utilization, which combined to more than offset higher raw material, operating and selling, general and administrative expenses of $69.4 million. The domestic utility pole business's increased sales, operating profit and adjusted EBITDA drove the improved results.

PC adjusted EBITDA increased as revised customer pricing enabled us to partly recapture the higher raw material and operating costs that significantly impacted results in 2022, along with a 7.7 percent volume increase in the Americas for wood treatment preservatives. The price increases were partly offset by $46.0 million of higher raw material and selling, general and administrative costs.

CMC adjusted EBITDA decreased due to an increase of $43.6 million in raw material and selling, general and administrative costs, a $2.8 million bad debt reserve and volume decreases, partly offset by lower operating costs in North America compared to the prior year period as well as $2.3 million of insurance proceeds recognized in the current year period. Foreign currency changes from our international markets had an unfavorable impact on profitability in the current year period of $1.2 million. CMC’s near-term profitability may be negatively affected by customers associated with bad debt reserve activity, but this is not expected to have a material effect on the Company’s overall profitability in 2024.

See Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, which is incorporated herein by reference, for discussion and analysis of consolidated results of operations and cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2021.

 

31


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Adjusted EBITDA Reconciliation. The following table reconciles net income, the most directly comparable financial measure determined and reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP, to adjusted EBITDA on a consolidated basis:

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in millions)

 

2023

 

 

2022

 

Net income

 

$

89.8

 

 

$

63.2

 

Interest expense

 

 

71.0

 

 

 

44.8

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

57.0

 

 

 

56.1

 

Income taxes

 

 

34.8

 

 

 

31.6

 

Discontinued operations

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

0.6

 

Sub-total

 

 

252.6

 

 

 

196.3

 

Adjustments to arrive at adjusted EBITDA:

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIFO expense(1)

 

 

6.0

 

 

 

25.6

 

Impairment, restructuring and plant closure costs

 

 

0.1

 

 

 

1.1

 

(Gain) on sale of assets

 

 

(1.8

)

 

 

(2.5

)

Mark-to-market commodity hedging (gains) losses

 

 

(0.5

)

 

 

6.5

 

Inventory adjustment

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

1.1

 

Total adjustments

 

 

3.8

 

 

 

31.8

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

256.4

 

 

$

228.1

 

(1)
The LIFO expense adjustment removes the entire impact of LIFO and effectively reflects the results as if we were on a FIFO inventory basis.

Cash Flow

Net cash provided by operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2023 was $146.1 million compared to $102.3 million in the prior year. The increase was primarily the result of higher net sales and improved collection of accounts receivable, partly offset by higher costs and an increase in inventory consistent with restocking crosstie inventory in our RUPS segment.

Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2023 was $116.0 million compared to $114.8 million in the prior year driven primarily by capital expenditures. Capital expenditures for both periods include increased investment in growth projects, such as the expansion of our RUPS facility in North Little Rock, Arkansas and a yield enhancement project at our CMC facility in Nyborg, Denmark.

Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2023 was $2.6 million compared to $4.8 million in the prior year. The sources of financing cash flows were net borrowings of $23.1 million and $9.9 million from issuances of common stock, primarily due to the exercise of stock options. This was offset by repurchases of common stock, payments of debt issuance costs and dividends paid. In the prior year, the primary source of financing cash flows was net borrowings of $36.3 million and the primary uses of financing cash flows were repurchases of common stock, payments of debt issuance costs and dividends paid.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Our Credit Facility is described in Note 15 – Debt.

Restrictions on Dividends to Koppers Holdings

Koppers Holdings depends on the dividends from the earnings of Koppers Inc. and its subsidiaries to generate the funds necessary to meet its financial obligations, including the payment of any declared dividend of Koppers Holdings. The Credit Facility permits Koppers Inc. to make dividend payments to Koppers Holdings if certain conditions are met, including, among other permitted dividend payments, the ability to fund the payment of regularly scheduled dividends on and repurchases of Koppers Holdings common stock, in an aggregate amount per fiscal year not to exceed the greater of $50.0 million, with unused amounts in any fiscal year being carried over to the succeeding fiscal year, and 6.0 percent of market capitalization.

Liquidity

As of December 31, 2023, the maximum amount available under the Credit Facility considering restrictions from debt covenants was approximately $386 million. The maximum amount available under the Credit Facility is increased by the amount of cash held by certain subsidiaries under the terms of the Credit Facility.

 

32


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Our need for cash in the next twelve months relates primarily to contractual obligations which includes debt service, pension plan funding, purchase commitments and operating leases, as well as working capital, capital spending, dividends and share repurchases. We may also use cash to pursue other potential strategic acquisitions or voluntary pension plan contributions, including pension plan settlements. Capital expenditures in 2024, excluding acquisitions, if any, are expected to total approximately $100 million and are expected to be funded by cash from operations. We anticipate that our liquidity will continue to be adequate to fund our cash requirements for at least the next twelve months.

We manage our working capital to increase our flexibility to pay down debt. The amount of our outstanding debt and our overall cash flows will fluctuate throughout any operating period based upon, among other things, the timing of receipts from customers and payments to vendors. As of December 31, 2023, approximately 85 percent of accounts payable was current and 15 percent was 1-30 days past due. As of December 31, 2022, approximately 80 percent of accounts payable was current and 20 percent was 1-30 days past due.

Purchase Commitments and Contractual Obligations

Purchase commitments consist primarily of raw materials purchase contracts. These are typically not fixed price arrangements; the prices are based on prevailing market prices. As a result, we generally expect to be able to hedge the purchases with sales at those future prices.

 

 

Payments Due by Period

 

 

2024

 

 

2025-2026

 

 

2027-2028

 

 

Thereafter

 

 

Total

 

(Dollars in millions)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchase commitments

 

$

257.3

 

 

$

308.4

 

 

$

118.9

 

 

$

0.3

 

 

$

684.9

 

 

Contractual obligations are primarily related to our debt agreements and operating leases. See Note 15 – Debt for discussion of the contractual obligations under our debt agreements, including interest payments and the timing of principal repayments. See Note 16 – Leases for discussion of our operating lease obligations.

Pension and other employee benefit plan funding contributions (for defined benefit plans) are expected to total approximately $7.6 million in 2024, for normal plan operations. Estimated funding obligations are determined by asset performance, workforce and retiree demographics, tax and employment laws and other actuarial assumptions, which may change the annual funding obligations in addition to decisions to fund in excess of statutorily required amounts. In addition, we are evaluating the termination of our US qualified pension plan, which would be targeted for completion by late 2024. If we proceed with the termination, the additional funding requirement is estimated to be approximately $25 million. The funded status of our defined benefit plans is disclosed in Note 14 – Pensions and Post-Retirement Benefit Plans.

Federal tax payments related to the transition tax in accordance with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Tax Act) are expected to be $1.5 million in the next two years. As of December 31, 2023, there was $1.5 million of tax liabilities related to unrecognized tax benefits. Because of the high degree of uncertainty regarding the timing of future cash outflows associated with these liabilities, we are unable to estimate the years in which settlement will occur with the respective taxing authorities. Additional information regarding taxes is disclosed in Note 10 – Income Taxes.

Bank Debt Covenants at December 31, 2023

The bank debt covenants that affect availability of the Credit Facility and which may restrict the ability of Koppers Inc. to pay dividends include the following financial ratios:

The total net leverage ratio is calculated as of the last day of each fiscal quarter in accordance with the Credit Facility definitions of consolidated total net debt divided by consolidated EBITDA and is not permitted to exceed 5.0. The total net leverage ratio as of December 31, 2023 was 2.9. Effective during the first quarter of 2024, the total net leverage ratio is not permitted to exceed 4.75.
The cash interest coverage ratio, calculated as of the last day of each fiscal quarter, is not permitted to be less than 2.0. The cash interest coverage ratio as of December 31, 2023 was 3.9.

We are currently in compliance with all covenants governing the Credit Facility. Our continued ability to meet these financial covenants can be affected by events beyond our control.

Other Matters

Foreign Operations and Foreign Currency Transactions

We are subject to foreign currency translation fluctuations due to our foreign operations. See the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income for the impact that exchange rate fluctuations had on comprehensive income. Foreign currency transaction gains and losses result from transactions denominated in a currency that is different from the currency used by the entity to prepare its financial statements. Foreign currency transaction gains (losses) were $1.0 million, $(0.8) million and $(0.7) million for the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively.

33


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Recently Issued Accounting Guidance

Information regarding recently issued accounting guidance is contained in Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies.

Critical Accounting Policies

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States requires management to use judgment in making estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of revenues and expenses, assets and liabilities, and the disclosure of contingent liabilities. The following accounting policies are based on, among other things, judgments and assumptions made by management that include inherent risks and uncertainties. Our management’s estimates are based on the relevant information available at the end of each period. With the exception of the revenue recognition policy, each of the following policies contain critical accounting estimates.

Revenue Recognition. Revenue is recognized upon the completion of performance obligations under our contracts with customers and when control of a good or service is transferred to the customer. See Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies for our revenue recognition policy.

Goodwill and Intangible Assets. Goodwill is assessed for impairment annually, using a quantitative goodwill impairment test, or more frequently if a change in circumstances or the occurrence of events indicates the carrying value may not be recoverable. We annually evaluate the remaining useful life of the intangible asset being amortized to determine whether events or circumstances warrant a revision to the remaining period of amortization. See Note 13 – Goodwill and Intangible Assets for our goodwill and intangible assets accounting policy.

We utilize the work of third-party specialists to assist in the fair value estimates. The key assumptions for the market and income approaches we use to determine fair value of our reporting units are updated at least annually. Those key assumptions include discount rates (13.5 percent – 17.5 percent), market multiples (4.5 – 7.5 times adjusted EBITDA) and terminal growth rates (5.4 – 6.5 times adjusted EBITDA) as well as future forecasts of revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA, which are based on our strategic plan. The strategic plan is updated as part of the annual planning process and is reviewed and approved by management and the Board of Directors. The strategic plan may be revised as necessary during the fiscal year based on changes in operating or economic conditions. The actual fair value may vary from our estimate under the market approach for many reasons, including because the peer group valuation differs from how investors value our business, valuation multiples change as a result of market conditions, changes in our business assumptions and other factors. Discount rates may be impacted by adverse changes in macroeconomic environment, volatility in the equity and debt markets or other factors. Our key assumptions are materially consistent with prior year.

During the fourth quarter of 2023, we performed an impairment test for goodwill for each of our reporting units using the quantitative approach. We determined the fair value of each of the reporting units exceeded its respective carrying amount; therefore, we determined that goodwill was not impaired at any of our reporting units as of December 31, 2023. The estimated fair value, as calculated at October 31, 2023, for the three reporting units ranged from approximately eight percent to 110 percent greater than their carrying value (six percent to 84 percent at the previous impairment assessment date). Our Railroad Products and Services reporting unit is at the low-end of that range and could experience impairment in the future if we do not achieve our profitability projections, there is a change in key assumptions underlying the valuation or if we experience a substantial decrease in our stock price.

While we can implement certain strategies to address changes in economic and operating conditions, adverse changes in the future could reduce the future revenue and cash flows used to estimate reporting unit fair values, which could trigger a future impairment charge. Additionally, disruptions to our business such as prolonged recessionary periods or unexpected significant declines in operating results of the relevant reporting units could result in charges for goodwill and other asset impairments in future periods. An estimate of the sensitivity to changes in our assumptions is not practicable given the numerous assumptions that can materially affect our estimates.

Deferred Tax Assets. See Note 10 – Income Taxes for information on deferred tax activity. Our deferred tax assets and liabilities are predominantly related to our domestic entities. In assessing the realizability of deferred tax assets, management considers whether it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will be realized. In evaluating the need for a valuation allowance, management considers various factors, including the expected level of future taxable income, available tax planning strategies and reversals of existing taxable temporary differences, all of which are subject to change based on business conditions and changes in tax law and regulations.

The realization of a majority of our deferred tax assets is not subject to any expiration and is dependent upon the reversal of the underlying temporary differences. To the extent future taxable income projections are not achieved, we could be required to record a valuation allowance against certain deferred tax assets, which would result in additional income tax expense.

 

34


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Asset Retirement Obligations. We measure asset retirement obligations using certain assumptions including estimates regarding the recovery of residues in storage tanks, which can vary from actual residues recovered on retirement. In the event that the amount of residue, the effort required to remove the residue or regulatory requirements vary from our estimates, we could incur additional significant charges to income and increases in cash expenditures related to the disposal of those residues. Certain conditional asset retirement obligations related to facilities have not been recorded in the consolidated financial statements due to uncertainties surrounding the ultimate settlement date and estimate of fair value related to a legal obligation to perform an asset retirement activity. At the date a reasonable estimate of the ultimate settlement amount and timing can be made, we will record an asset retirement obligation, and such amounts may be material to the consolidated financial statements in the period in which they are recorded. See Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies for information on expense recognized during the past two years. An estimate of the sensitivity to changes in our assumptions is not practicable given the numerous assumptions that can materially affect our estimates.

Pension and Post-retirement Benefits. Accounting for pension and other post-retirement benefit obligations involves numerous assumptions, the most significant of which relate to the following:

the discount rate for measuring the present value of future plan obligations; and
the expected long-term return on plan assets.

We develop our demographics and utilize the work of third-party actuaries to assist in the measurement of these obligations. We have selected different discount rates for our pension plans and our other post-retirement benefit plans due to the different projected benefit payment patterns. In determining the assumed discount rates at December 31, 2023, we used our third-party actuary’s discount rate model. This model calculates an equivalent single discount rate for the projected benefit plan cash flows using a hypothetical bond portfolio to match expected cash flows under our benefit plans. The bonds used are rated AA or higher by a recognized rating agency, and only non-callable bonds are included with the exception of those with a make-whole call feature. The actuary limited the selection to those bonds with a minimum of 100,000 outstanding issues. Outlier bonds whose yields exceeded two standard deviations from the yield curve derived from similar quality bonds were excluded.

Of the assumptions used to measure the year-end obligations and estimated annual net periodic benefit cost, the discount rate has the most significant effect on the periodic benefit cost reported for the plans. Decreasing the discount rates by 0.25 percent for our pension plans and 0.25 percent for our other post-retirement benefit plans would increase pension obligations and other post-retirement benefit plan obligations by $3.9 million. Increasing the discount rates by the same amount would not have a material effect on defined benefit pension expense and other post-retirement benefit plan expense.

The asset rate of return assumption considers the asset mix of the plans (currently targeted at 100 percent fixed income securities and cash equivalents for the funded U.S. pension plan), past performance and other factors, including expected re-allocations of asset mix occurring within a reasonable period of time. Our asset rate of return assumption is 5.62 percent for 2023 defined benefit pension expense. Decreasing the asset rate of return assumption by 0.25 percent would increase our defined benefit pension expense by $0.3 million.

See Note 14 – Pensions and Post-Retirement Benefit Plans for detailed information about the assumptions used to calculate the components of our annual defined benefit pension and other post-retirement plan expense, as well as the obligations and accumulated other comprehensive loss reported on the year-end balance sheets.

Environmental Liabilities. As discussed under Environmental Matters in Item 1 – Business, we are subject to federal, state, local, and foreign laws and regulations, and potential liabilities relating to the protection of the environment and human health and safety. We expect to incur substantial costs for ongoing compliance with such laws and regulations. We may also incur costs as a result of governmental or third-party claims, or other requirements, relating to cleanup of, or for injuries resulting from, contamination at sites associated with past and present operations. We accrue for environmental liabilities when a determination can be made that they are probable and reasonably estimable. The amount accrued is determined through the evaluation of various information, which could include claims, settlement offers, demands by government agencies, estimates performed by independent third parties, identification of other responsible parties and an assessment of their ability to contribute, and our prior experience. Inherent uncertainties exist in such estimates primarily due to unknown conditions and other circumstances, changing governmental regulations and legal standards regarding liability, and evolving technologies. See Note 17 – Commitments and Contingent Liabilities for information about environmental liabilities.

 

35


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

Like other global companies, we are exposed to market risks relating to fluctuations in commodity prices, interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates. The objective of our financial risk management is to minimize the volatility of commodity price, interest rate and foreign exchange rate fluctuations on our earnings, cash flows and equity.

To manage commodity price risk, we enter into swap contracts for future forecasted purchases of copper. This reduces the impact of commodity price volatility on gross profit. To manage interest rate risks, we use a combination of fixed and variable rate debt and interest rate swaps. This reduces the impact of short-term fluctuations in interest rates. To manage foreign currency exchange rate risks, we use forward exchange contracts to hedge firm commitments up to twelve months, and all such contracts are marked to market with the recognition of a gain or loss at each reporting period.

The following analyses present the sensitivity of the market value, earnings and cash flows of our financial instruments and foreign operations to hypothetical changes in interest and exchange rates and market prices for copper as if these changes occurred at December 31, 2023. The range of changes chosen for these analyses reflects our view of changes which are reasonably possible over a one-year period. Market values are the present values of projected future cash flows based on copper price, interest rate and exchange rate assumptions. These forward-looking statements are selective in nature and only address the potential impacts from financial instruments and foreign operations. They do not include other potential effects that could impact our business as a result of these changes.

Commodity Price Sensitivity Analysis. Our exposure to market risk for changes in copper prices relates primarily to the purchase price of the raw material and the fixed price sales agreements we have with customers of our PC segment. We utilize swap contracts to manage this price risk. See Note 5 – Derivative Financial Instruments for quantities and the financial statement impact of these contracts as of December 31, 2023. Holding other variables constant, if there were a 10 percent reduction in the December 31, 2023 market price of copper, the fair value of these contracts would be a loss of $11.7 million. This hypothetical loss would be allocated $9.5 million to other comprehensive income and $2.2 million recognized in income, before tax.

Interest Rate and Debt Sensitivity Analysis. Our exposure to market risk for changes in interest rates relates primarily to our interest payments on our variable rate debt obligations. See Note 15 – Debt for discussion of the changes in debt and our interest rate swap agreements. For variable rate debt, interest rate changes impact earnings and cash flows, assuming other factors are held constant. A one percentage point increase in interest rates would have decreased earnings and cash flows by approximately $4.6 million over a twelve-month period, holding other variables constant inclusive of interest rate swap effects.

Exchange Rate Sensitivity Analysis. Our exchange rate exposures result primarily from our investment and ongoing operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Holding other variables constant, if there were a ten percent reduction in all relevant exchange rates, the effect on our earnings, based on actual earnings from foreign operations for the year ended December 31, 2023, would be a reduction of approximately $5.4 million.

36


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

Koppers Holdings Inc.

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

 

 

 

Page

 

 

 

 

 

Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

 

38

 

 

 

 

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

39

 

 

 

 

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

40

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021

 

42

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income for the Years Ended December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021

 

42

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2023 and 2022

 

43

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows for the Years Ended December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021

 

44

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Shareholders’ Equity for the Years Ended December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021

 

45

 

 

 

 

 

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

 

46

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

MANAGEMENT’S REPORT ON INTERNAL CONTROL OVER FINANCIAL REPORTING

The management of Koppers Holdings Inc. is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external reporting purposes in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Management has assessed the effectiveness of Koppers Holdings Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023. In making this assessment, management has utilized the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013 Framework). Management concluded that based on its assessment, Koppers Holdings Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2023.

The effectiveness of Koppers Holdings Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023, has been audited by KPMG LLP, the independent registered public accounting firm that also audited the consolidated financial statements included in this annual report, as stated in their attestation report which appears on page 39.

 

February 28, 2024

 

/S/ LEROY M. BALL

Leroy M. Ball

Chief Executive Officer

 

/S/ JIMMI SUE SMITH

Jimmi Sue Smith

Chief Financial Officer

 

 

38


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Shareholders and Board of Directors
Koppers Holdings Inc.:

Opinion on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

We have audited Koppers Holdings Inc. and subsidiaries' (the Company) internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. In our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the consolidated balance sheets of the Company as of December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive income, shareholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2023, and the related notes and financial statement schedule II (collectively, the consolidated financial statements), and our report dated February 28, 2024 expressed an unqualified opinion on those consolidated financial statements.

Basis for Opinion

The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audit also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ KPMG LLP

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
February 28, 2024

 

39


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

To the Shareholders and Board of Directors
Koppers Holdings Inc.:

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Koppers Holdings Inc. and subsidiaries (the Company) as of December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive income, shareholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2023, and the related notes and financial statement schedule II (collectively, the consolidated financial statements). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2023, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission, and our report dated February 28, 2024 expressed an unqualified opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical Audit Matter

The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of a critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.

 

 

40


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

Assessment of the carrying value of Goodwill in the Railroad Products and Services Reporting Unit

As described in Note 13 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company’s goodwill balance as of December 31, 2023 was $294.4 million, of which $41.0 million was related to the Railroad Products and Services reporting unit. The Company performs goodwill impairment testing at the reporting unit level annually or more frequently if a change in circumstances or the occurrence of events indicates that a potential impairment exists. The Company uses a combination of an income approach, using a discounted cash flow methodology, and a market approach in its annual goodwill impairment assessment.

We identified the assessment of the carrying value of goodwill for the Railroad Products and Services reporting unit as a critical audit matter. Significant auditor judgment was required to evaluate the Company’s estimate of fair value of the Railroad Products and Services reporting unit, which was developed, in part, using a discounted cash flow model. Specifically, the key assumptions used in the reporting unit's discounted cash flow model are forecasted revenue growth rates and forecasted EBITDA margins within the forecasted cash flows, and the discount rate, as changes to those assumptions could have a significant effect on the Company’s assessment of the impairment of the goodwill.

The following are the primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter. We evaluated the design and tested the operating effectiveness of certain internal controls related to the Company’s goodwill impairment assessment process. This included controls over the development of the forecasted revenue growth rates, forecasted EBITDA margins, and discount rate assumptions. We evaluated the Company’s forecasted revenue growth rates and forecasted EBITDA margins by comparing them to external market and industry data. We compared the Company’s historical forecasted revenue growth rates and forecasted EBITDA margins to actual results to assess the Company’s ability to accurately forecast. We also involved valuation professionals with specialized skills and knowledge, who assisted in evaluating the Company's discount rate, by comparing it against a discount rate that was independently developed using publicly available third-party market data for comparable entities.

/s/ KPMG LLP

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2016.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
February 28, 2024

41


Koppers Holdings Inc. 2023 Annual Report

 

KOPPERS HOLDINGS INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2023

 

 

2022

 

 

2021

 

(Dollars in millions, except per share amounts)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

2,154.2

 

 

$

1,980.5

 

 

$

1,678.6

 

Cost of sales

 

 

1,729.7

 

 

 

1,635.9

 

 

 

1,344.5

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

57.0

 

 

 

56.1

 

 

 

57.7

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

174.1

 

 

 

153.3

 

 

 

148.9

 

Impairment and restructuring charges

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

2.2

 

(Gain) on sale of assets

 

 

(1.8

)

 

 

(2.5

)

 

 

(31.2

)

Operating profit

 

 

195.2

 

 

 

137.7

 

 

 

156.5

 

Other income, net

 

 

0.4

 

 

 

2.5

 

 

 

3.6

 

Interest expense

 

 

71.0

 

 

 

44.8

 

 

 

40.5

 

Income from continuing operations before income taxes

 

 

124.6

 

 

 

95.4