FAIRLAWN, OHIO (Nov. 2, 2:05 p.m. ET) — A. Schulman Inc. just wrapped up a 2011 fiscal year in which its sales grew more than 27 percent to almost $2.2 billion.
“We are pleased that we achieved strong results for fiscal 2011, as margins improved across all of our businesses during the fourth quarter,” Schulman Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Gingo said in a news release. “We are also seeing the positive results of the aggressive and decisive actions we have taken to mitigate the effects of the weakening global economic environment.”
But the firm's profits for the year ended Aug. 31 fell more than 5 percent to just under $42 million. Officials with the Fairlawn-based maker of compounds and concentrates chalked up the decline to special charges related to a dispute settlement and a change in the way the company calculates inventory reserves. Those items reduced Schulman's profit by almost $6 million, officials said in a news release.
Schulman's fiscal 2011 sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew 14.5 percent. Its growth rate in the Americas for the year was 22.5 percent. The EMEA region accounted for almost 70 percent of fiscal 2011 sales for Schulman, down from almost 72 percent in fiscal 2010. The Americas' share of the firm's annual sales grew from less than 23 percent in fiscal 2010 to 23.5 percent in fiscal 2011.
The EMEA region's operating income grew 25 percent for Schulman during fiscal 2011, while operating income in the Americas grew 17 percent. The firm's global capacity utilization rate fell from 81 percent to 73 percent in the same comparison.
On Wall Street, Schulman's per-share stock price began the calendar year above $22, but had fallen under $18 by early August. It was just under $20 when 4th quarter and full-year results were announced Oct. 26, sending the price up more than 10 percent to more than $22 as investors were undeterred by the firm's lower profit totals. The price closed around $20.50 on Nov. 1.
Schulman ranks as one of North America's 10 largest makers of compounds and concentrates. The firm also operates a resin distribution unit.