AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Original Source: FD (FAIR DISCLOSURE) WIRE
. Eric Burrell, Sealed Air Corporation, Director, Corporate Communications
. Bill Hickey, Sealed Air Corporation, President & CEO . David Kelsey, Sealed Air Corporation, SVP & CFO
SEE reported that sales surpassed the $1b mark for the first time in the Co.'s history in 4Q04. Diluted EPS were $0.33 for 4Q04. The Co. is setting its full-year 2005 earnings guidance at a range of $2.95-3.05 per common share. Q&A Focus: GM, restructuring, and guidance.
A. Key Data From Call 1. 4Q04 gross profit = $308m. 2. 4Q04 marketing, administrative, and development Expenses = $160m. 3. 4Q04 restructuring charges = $33m. 4. 4Q04 operating profit = $115m. 5. 4Q04 income tax expense = $11m. 6. 4Q04 diluted EPS = $0.33. 7. Cash balance at 12/31/04 = $412m.
S1. Operational Review (B.H.) 1. 4Q04 Highlights: 1. Sales surpassed the $1b mark for the first time in the Co.'s history. 2. 01/31/05 is the Co.'s fifth annual Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, as recognized by Chase's Calendar of Events. 3. Pleased to end what has been a relatively challenging year from a raw material cost standpoint on a high note. 4. SEE announced in 3Q04 a four-point program to improve the profitability and to meet its expectations for earnings. 1. The first step was a profit improvement program to improve operating efficiencies. 2. Second was a capability to enhance the supply chain. 3. Third was using cash balances to reduce debt. 4. Fourth was to use cash balances to repurchase the Co.'s common stock. 5. Fully expects to carry this continued momentum into 2005 and beyond as the Co. begins to realize the benefits from its restructuring and debt-reduction activities that it implemented in 4Q04. 6. A couple of new products that have generated a lot of customer enthusiasm and excitement includes the new priority pack system for high-speed variable-sized product containment and the new Shanklin Omni form-fill-seal wrapper with a modular plug and play infeeds. 7. Sales increased 9%, reaching over $1b. 8. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, quarterly sales rose 5%, reflecting continued strong
performance from the Protective Packaging segment and solid
growth in the international food packaging business. 2. Full-Year 2004: 1. Reported sales of $3.8b, an 8% increase over the prior year. 2. International businesses recorded 6% unit volume growth for the year. 3. Protective Packaging: 1. Net sales increased 8% during 4Q04, and that excludes the positive effect of foreign currency translations. 2. A good holiday shipping season helped boost the domestic volumes during 4Q04 and the Co. has continued to see solid demands across all major regions of the world for the packaging products. 3. Heading into 2005, the Co. is excited about the continued growth prospects for Instapak continuous foam tube applications and its expanded systems offering in its inflatable product line. 4. Food Packaging: 1. Sales increased 3% during 4Q04, which also excludes the positive effect of foreign currency translation. 2. Strong double-digit growth experienced in the Co.'s key growth programs of case-ready and vertical pouch packaging. 3. Latin America continued to be a solid contributor to food business, with double-digit growth rates for both 4Q04 and the full year. 4. North American beef business performed better on a YoverY basis, as US beef production ended 4Q04 up slightly higher vs. the prior year. 5. Expects that US beef market conditions will gradually improve as the Co. progresses into 2005. 6. The anticipated opening of the Canadian border for exports of animals under 30 months of age to the US, currently scheduled for early in March, should help improve the supply/demand imbalance the beef industry has been experiencing for the past several quarters. 5. Guidance: 1. The Co. is setting its full-year 2005 earnings guidance at a range of $2.95-3.05 per common share. 1. This figure includes an expected $0.11-0.12 reduction in earnings per common share associated with the application of EITF Issue No. 04-08, which is an accounting pronouncement
which requires the dilutive effect of contingent convertible securities to be included in the Co.'s diluted EPS calculation. 2. The guidance also assumes that raw material costs will stabilize beyond 1Q05 and that the Co. will continue to see growth in the global economy.
S2. Financial Review (D.K.) 1. Highlights: 1. Sales exceeded $1b for the first time. 2. Both Protective segment and Food segment set sales records in Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.
3. Nearly 53% of 4Q04 sales were generated from outside the US.
2. Gross Margin: 1. Gross profit was $308m for 4Q04. 2. Gross profit margin was 30.3% vs. 30.2% in 3Q04 and 31.5% in 4Q03.
3. Double-digit increases in resin costs were the major factor in the YoverY decline in GM. 4. Raw material costs were up sequentially from 3Q04 to 4Q04, but a combination of volume gains and realized price increases resulted in stable sequential gross profit margins. 3. Marketing, Administrative, and Development Expenses: 1. Increased $12m to $160m vs. 4Q03. 1. Approx. one-half or $6m of this increase was attributable to foreign currency translation. 2. The majority of the balance of the increase reflects the spending on the Co.'s information systems. 3. As a percent of revenue, these overhead expenses were 15.7%, unchanged as a percent of revenue from 4Q03. For all of 2004, marketing, administrative, and development expenses were 16.5% of revenue. 4. Looking ahead, the Co. expects to improve on this ratio in 2005. 4. Restructuring Charges: 1. Totaled $33m in 4Q04. 2. Approx. two-thirds of the restructuring charge represents severance payments related to the elimination of slightly less than 500 positions. 3. Most of the remainder of the charge represents non-cash asset
impairment costs. 4. Just under 75% of the positions being eliminated were in European operations with the remainder in the US. 5. The large majority of the charges resulted from actions to reallocate work to other facilities in Europe and the US,
respectively. 6. Implementation of these plans is on schedule and on budget and the Co. expects annual savings to be $25-30m in 2006. 5. Operating Profit: 1. Operating profit was $115m.
2. Operating profit as a percent of sales was 11.3% vs. 15.9% in
4Q03. 3. After adjusting for restructuring amounts in both 4Q04 and 4Q03, YoverY …