There was a time when Berry Global Group Inc. relied on acquisitions as a key way to help fuel growth into a multibillion-dollar company.
But as the Evansville, Ind.-based company looks to the future, there now is a keen eye on creating so-called organic growth and paying down debt.
Berry, which has exploded during the past decade into a $13 billion company with nearly 300 locations around the world, sees growth from existing operations as a key metric moving forward.
In just the past decade or so, Berry has tripled in size, largely due to a series of acquisitions that not only broadened its geographic footprint but also the company's product mix.
CEO Tom Salmon, who has helmed the company since February 2017, is laying out a game plan that strives for 5 percent annual growth this fiscal year from existing operations and lines of business.
While 5 percent, on the surface, might not seem like that much, for a company that's Berry's size, that amounts to more than $650 million in growth.
"We also feel clearly good about the fact that we've been very intentional relative to our commitment to organic growth and to ultimately continue to de-lever," he said during an Aug. 6 interview. "The kind of success to grow organically that we have across all of our divisions is very encouraging.
"We'll grow 5 percent for our fiscal year '21, which is exceptional," Salmon said.
"We were growing right before the pandemic, we grew during the pandemic, and we fully anticipate given the capital investment that we are making that over the long term that we will continue to be a low single-digit grower for some time to come," he said.
Salmon said during an Aug. 5 conference call to discuss fiscal year third-quarter earnings that safety is the only company priority ahead of profitable organic growth.
An emphasis on organic growth comes at a time where the company continues to use size and cash flow to pay down debt.
The company, just this past fiscal quarter, has cut its debt ratio from 4.3 times adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to 3.9 times adjusted EBITDA. That's on the high end of the firm's goal of having a debt multiple of 3.0 to 3.9 times adjusted EBITDA.
Berry's leverage has fallen from five times EBITDA in July 2019 after the company acquired RPC Group plc — the company's largest purchase — including a 0.4 times reduction during the current fiscal year.