For publicly traded plastics companies such as machinery maker Milacron Holdings Corp., it's still too early to get specifics about the impact from federal tax reform.
Most companies use the fiscal year for their calendar year. So right now, less than a month into 2018, Milacron and the other companies have not yet released their fourth-quarter 2017 results, so they have not fielded the inevitable flood of questions from financial analysts about tax reform.
Milacron, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, is important to follow because it makes a broad range of equipment, including injection molding machines, blow molders, extruders, hot runners and mold bases.
Milacron officials declined to comment for a story on tax reform, saying it's too close to their fourth-quarter reporting period. But Stephen DeNichilo, portfolio manager of the Federated Kaufmann Small Cap Fund, which holds stock in Milacron, said the firm should get a boost from tax reform. He likes that Milacron covers a wide range of end markets, and investments in its equipment give a relatively quick payback.
"That would certainly fall under that expensing umbrella," DeNichilo said. "So, if there's a company that's been deferring purchases, Milacron will obviously benefit from accelerated demand."
Most processors are privately held, and most of the few publicly held ones have not issued their fourth-quarter results yet. But there are few tidbits from some that have fiscal years ending before Dec. 31.
Transcontinental Inc., the Canadian conglomerate that does printing and supplies flexible packaging and digital media, reported its fiscal 2017 results on Dec. 14. One analyst asked about any impact from the U.S. tax changes. President and CEO François Olivier said the biggest benefit will be cash flow.
"Certainly, based on the cash flow we generate in the U.S. and going forward, it's obviously very positive," he said.
Atkore International Group Inc., an NYSE-traded maker of building products including PVC conduit and pipe, announced its year-end results Nov. 29. Asked about tax reform, President and CEO John Williamson said "let's wait and see" what comes out of Washington.
Chief Financial Officer James Mallak pointed to improved cash flow since the United States accounts for most of the business at the company based in Harvey, Ill.