Bemis Co. Inc. saw profit increase last year and expects more of the same in 2016.
The Neenah, Wis.-based flexible packaging maker earned $239.3 million, or $2.47 per diluted share, from continuing operations in 2015 on sales of $4.071 billion in 2015. That compares to earnings of $191.1 million, or $2.36 per diluted share, from continuing operations on sales of $4.344 billion in 2014.
Factoring in losses from discontinued operations, earnings were $2.44 per share in 2015 compared with $1.89 in 2014, the company said.
“We exceed my expectations and made great progress toward our long-term financial objectives,” CEO William Austen said on a Jan. 28 conference call to discuss earnings.
Bemis breaks down its sales between the company's U.S. and global packaging segments.
U.S. packaging net sales totaled $2.748 billion, a decrease of 4 percent compared with 2014. Global packaging next sales were $1.324 billion, down 10.7 percent for the year.
U.S. sales fell by 1.3 percent thanks to the company's sale of its paper packaging division during the first quarter of 2014. Of the remaining 2.7-percent drop, unit volumes fell by about 2 percent due to the company's “strategic pricing decisions.” The rest was due to lower raw material costs that were passed through to customers, partially offset by “a favorable sales mix,” the company said.
Currency exchanges had a big impact on the global packaging segment, reducing net sales by 18.2 percent, the company said. Without that consideration and the acquisition of the rigid packaging division of Emplal Participações SA in Brazil, net sales would have increased globally by 7.2 percent, the company said.
Looking to this year, the CEO said there are some key items for the company's financial performance, including continued investment in company operations to become more efficient.
“My view is there is no such thing as bad business. It's simply up to us to find ways to improve the margin profile of products where there is a market price or heavy competition, such as candy bar wrappers or bread bags,” he said.
“Our asset recapitalization of printing presses and slitters does just that — helps us be more efficient in producing products that are less differentiated,” he said.
The company also will continue to look to introduce new packaging, the CEO said. “Our innovation pipeline on new products is strong and includes a wide variety of new packaging launches,” Austen said.
Bemis also reported repurchasing 3.3 million shares of stock during 2015, including 1 million shares during the fourth quarter. The overall cost of those shares was $150.1 million for the year.