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Sealed Air (SEE) Q1 Earnings: Can the Stock Pull a Surprise?

Sealed Air Corporation SEE is expected to report first-quarter 2016 results on Apr 28, before the market opens. In the last reported quarter, the global provider of food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection solutions had reported a 29% year-over-over surge in adjusted earnings per share to 70 cents. Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Sealed Air will beat earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Sealed Air’s Earnings ESP is 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate are currently pegged at 48 cents.

Zacks Rank: Sealed Air’s Zacks Rank #1 increases the predictive power of ESP. However, when combined with a 0.00% ESP, it makes surprise prediction difficult.

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Surprise History

Also, last quarter, it posted a 52% positive earnings surprise. Notably, Sealed Air has outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters with an average positive earnings surprise of 28.62%.

Factors at Play This Quarter

Sealed Air’s volumes are expected to improve throughout the year as the company completes its rationalization efforts and expands its foothold in the rapidly growing fulfilment markets. Its performance in 2016 will be driven by ongoing productivity improvements, further adoption of a more advanced product portfolio, and early success of the Change the Game initiatives. All of these actions will accelerate growth and drive margin expansion.

For 2016, Sealed Air expects favorable sales and EBITDA trends in Diversey care on a constant dollar basis, along with margin expansion. The company will continue to focus on growth opportunities and manage its cost structure to help offset currency headwinds. Moreover, the product care business is performing beyond expectations.

Through 2015, the company witnessed double-digit growth in e-commerce and third-party logistics, and significantly improved its profitability in general packaging. The company also changed leadership in both Asia-Pacific and Latin America, and has already begun to enjoy the benefits of its new go-to-market approach.

Moreover, the company’s ongoing Earnings Quality Improvement Program (EQIP), an initiative to deliver meaningful cost savings and network optimization, is estimated to generate annualized savings of approximately $90–$110 million by the year end.

On the flip side, since Sealed Air generates approximately 70% of its revenues from operations outside the U.S., the company will continue to face currency challenges. Furthermore, despite Sealed Air’s efforts to reduce debt, debt -to-capitalization ratio remained high at 90% as of Dec 31, 2015. Increased interest levels will also put pressure on margins.

Stock to Consider

Here are some other companies you may want to consider as our model shows that these also have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Regal Beloit Corp. RBC has an Earnings ESP of +0.92% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Emerson Electric Co. EMR has an Earnings ESP of +3.17% and Zacks Rank #2.

SPX FLOW, Inc. FLOW has an Earnings ESP of +100% and a Zacks Rank #1.

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
SEALED AIR CORP (SEE): Free Stock Analysis Report
SPX FLOW INC (FLOW): Free Stock Analysis Report
EMERSON ELEC CO (EMR): Free Stock Analysis Report
REGAL BELOIT (RBC): Free Stock Analysis Report
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