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Bemis Co. reports flat quarterly sales and profit

By: Jim Johnson

April 24, 2014

Bemis Co. Inc. feels no pressure to fill its vacant chief financial officer’s position, a slot that has now been vacant for months.

CEO Henry Theisen, during a conference call April 24 to discuss first quarter earnings, said the search continues for a successor to former CFO Scott Ullem.

“As far as the search for a CFO, we are continuing to go through the process. We have very capable financial people here at the Bemis Co. We’re not in any rush. We want to make sure that we get the right person,” Theisen told stock analysts covering his company on the call.

“So the search continues and we’re very confident in the people that we have here at the Bemis Co. And we don’t feel any pressure to go out and fill that position with someone that isn’t the best candidate,” he said.

Bemis, in mid-November, said Ullem resigned but had agreed to remain an employee through 2013 to help in the transition. He then became CFO at Edwards Lifesciences Corp., an Irvine, Calif.-based heart valve and blood flow monitoring company.

Jerry Krempa, who is vice president and controller, has been taking on added responsibilities as the principal financial officer since mid-November at the flexible packaging and pressure sensitive materials company.

Bemis, based in Neenah, Wis., also reported first quarter net profit of $49.2 million, or 48 cents per diluted share, on sales of $1.238 billion. That compares to a profit of $49.3 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, on sales of $1.255 billion for the first quarter of 2013.

Theisen indicated the company achieved record first quarter adjusted earnings per share.

Adjusted diluted earnings would have been 58 cents per share for the first quarter, compared with 53 cents for the first quarter of 2013, the company reported.

“During the first quarter we benefited from strong pricing discipline. A stabilizing European economy and our growing business in China. We prudently controlled costs, refocused resources on our core business and repurchased 1.1 million shares of stock,” the CEO said.

“Unit volumes were lower than expected, driven by inflationary pressures in Brazil along with a slowdown in our customers who were challenged by recent weather events in North America. While these weather events also created some headwinds at our own plants, our business teams did a great job of managing operations to minimize the impact,” Theisen said. “As we enter our seasonally strong second quarter, we are seeing the normal increase in orders from our customers.”