Meat applications in the Americas helped the Sealed Air Corporation in tough markets during its fourth financial quarter (Q4).
Commenting on the company's Q4 performance for period ending 31 December 2012, president and chief executive officer Jerome Peribere said Latin America had proved to be a strong performer in the meat segment.
Sealed Air's North America fresh red meat packaging products increased sales by approximately 2% compared with an almost 5% decline in beef supply in the region. The gain was partially offset by pricing pressures and raw material cost increases.
Globally, the company continued to pursue a robust innovation strategy, investing $140 mill. in research and development this year and launching more than a dozen products in 2012.
Global food & beverage (F&B) sales in the fourth quarter increased 2.4% on a constant dollar basis, Peribere said, also reporting a 1.7% growth in food packaging and food solutions. The main aspects fuelling that growth were food safety and security concerns and consumers' increased demand for convenient packaging. He singled out the Grip & Tear feature on bags, easy open/reclose on rollstock, including Sealed Air's new FoldLOK pouch system and ovenable materials.
Sealed Air's global operating profit in Q4, 2012 more than doubled, from $47.5 mill to $118.2 mill., on net sales up slightly, from $1.96 bill. to $1.98bill., compared with Q4 in 2011.
Summarising full-year figures, Sealed Air reported net sales up $7.6 bill., a 37.8% increase over 2011. Adjusted 2012 pre-tax profit was $1.02 bill, 2.8% higher over pro forma 2011 pre-tax profit of $996 mill. Strong cost synergies had helped performance, it said.
Peribere predicted modest sales and pre-tax profit growth for 2013, despite struggling markedly in Europe and the continued upward march of raw material costs. Sales had fallen by 3% across Europe off the back of the weak economy, with most countries showing declines. Sealed Air's F&B division represents roughly half of its total sales, with the rest coming from its Institutional & Laundry (28%) and Protective Packaging (21%) divisions.
Source: Sealed Air Corporation