There's a lot of talk these days about plastics and the environment, about what role the material should play in modern society. Some loud voices are even questioning the material altogether.
But as Berry Global Group Inc. CEO Tom Salmon discussed Berry's latest earnings, he made it clear his plastics company has a seat at the table when it comes to sustainability.
Amid all the talk of quarterly results and the kind of detailed, sometimes in-the-weeds financial questions that only stock analysts can ask, Salmon framed his company as being uniquely positioned in the sustainability movement.
"One of our key organic growth opportunities for Berry comes from the increasing consumer demand for more sustainable or environmentally friendly packaging," Salmon said. "At Berry, we continue to believe the possible use of plastics are endless. In fact, over the years, customers and consumers alike have become accustomed to the advantages of plastic packaging."
Plastic provides weight, versatility, durability, convenience, barrier and cost advantages, the CEO said.
"Now all of us have an additional expectation, and that is for the package to have an accountable end-of-life solution that retains the value of the packaging material and prevents it from becoming waste," he said. "We believe a way to focus on these growing requirements, particularly around weight, is through sustainable packaging. Berry is uniquely positioned globally to lead the way in this evolution."
Berry, based in Evansville, Ind., has grown over the years to become a multibillion-dollar entity with operations around the world. This year's purchase of RPC Group gave the company, for the first time, a massive presence in Europe and a significant presence in plastics recycling in the United Kingdom.
"I'm very pleased with the progress and integration of RPC. The business generates solid financial results. This transformative acquisition gives us a world-class product innovation edge," Salmon said.
Berry is still on track to achieve $150 million in annual cost savings through the combination of the two companies, including $75 million that will be achieved in the company's 2020 fiscal year.
Overall, Berry had a profit of $404 million, or $3 per diluted share, on revenue of $8.88 billion for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 28. That compares with earnings of $496 million, or $3.67 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $7.87 billion for the previous fiscal year.
Berry had a profit of $229 million, or $1.70 per diluted share, on revenue of $3.02 billion for the fiscal year fourth quarter the ended Sept. 28. That compares with a profit of $133 million, or 99 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $2.05 billion during the previous fourth quarter.