Profit dipped for Bemis Co. Inc. for all of 2014, but were up during the fourth quarter in what the company's leader called a “pivotal year.”
The Neenah, Wis.-based flexible packaging firm earned $191.1 million, or $1.89 per diluted share, on sales of $4.34 billion in 2014. That compares with profit of $212.6 million, or $2.04 cents per diluted share, on sales of $4.48 billion in 2013, the company reported.
During the fourth quarter, Bemis posted a profit of $59.1 million, or 59 cents per share, on sales of $1.053 billion. That compares with a profit of $56.2 million, or 54 cents per diluted share, on sales of $1.085 billion for the fourth quarter of 2013.
“This has been a pivotal year for Bemis Co. as we shifted to a growth focus,” CEO William Austen said in a statement. “In our U.S. packaging segment, we are commercializing new product innovations and expanding capacity to meet the needs of our growing target end markets.
“Improving the performance of our global packaging segment demonstrates that our growth strategy is working,” the CEO continued in the statement. “Higher profit margins in this segment were driven by increased unit sales in our target end markets around the world.”
Packaging net sales in the United States last year were $2.9 billion, a 4.2-percent decrease from 2013. Divestiture of the company's paper packaging division accounted for a 5.2-percent drop, meaning sales actually increased by 1 percent when excluding that move. Global packaging sales were $1.5 billion and consistent with 2013, the company said.
Bemis also provided some views on this year.
“We expect our growth initiatives to deliver continued performance improvement across our business,” Austen said in a statement.
Bemis also reported the repurchase of 3.8 million share of stock in 2014 for a total price of $152.1 million.