PolyOne reports higher sales and profit in 2011

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AVON LAKE, OHIO (Feb. 17, 10:25 a.m. ET) — Compounding and distribution leader PolyOne weathered a fourth-quarter operating loss to produce positive financial results for full-year 2011.

Avon Lake -based PolyOne posted sales of almost $2.9 billion in 2011 – up more than 9 percent vs. 2010. The firm’s full-year profit also climbed more than 6 percent to almost $173 million. A fourth-quarter operating loss of almost $40 million mainly resulted from pension actuarial losses.

“The fourth quarter marks the end of another record-breaking year for PolyOne,” Chairman, President and CEO Stephen Newlin said in a Feb. 17 news release. “I look back on 2011 as a critical inflection point in our transformation toward becoming a specialty company.”

PolyOne accomplished this goal, Newlin added, by acquiring global liquid color leader ColorMatrix Group Inc. and Brazilian compounder Uniplen Industria de Polimeros Ltda., and by selling off its stake in commodity chlorine and caustic soda maker SunBelt. The ColorMatrix deal in particular could be a defining moment for PolyOne, largely because of its $486 million price tag. Officials already are saying ColorMatrix will add income of 4-6 cents per share to PolyOne in 2012 and 12-15 cents per share in 2013.

In 2011, PolyOne’s Specialty Platform – including color, additives, inks and engineered materials – ranked as the largest of the firm’s three operating units, generating more than 37 percent of sales before eliminations. Specialty Platform sales grew seven percent to more than $1.1 billion during 2011, while its operating income increased two percent.

PolyOne’s distribution unit – which markets resins for almost 20 suppliers - saw 2011 sales growth of 9 percent and operating income growth of 33 percent. The firm’s performance products and solutions unit – including PVC compounds – enjoyed sales growth of 11 percent during the year and operating income growth of almost 15 percent.

Newlin cautioned in the release that growth rates for 2012 “may decelerate given the current economic environment,” but he added that PolyOne “expects another year of record adjusted earnings per share.”

On Wall Street, PolyOne’s per-share stock price is off to a strong start in 2012, starting the year near $12 and climbing almost 30 percent to $14.90 in early trading Feb. 17.