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Berry Plastics (BERY) Q2 Earnings Beat Estimates; Stock Up

Shares of Berry Plastics Group, Inc. BERY reached a 52-week high of $38.74, a day after the company posted its second-quarter fiscal 2016 (ended Apr 2, 2016) results on May 10. The company recorded adjusted earnings per share of 58 cents in the quarter that improved around 38% year over year. Earnings effortlessly beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 49 cents.

Including one-time items, the company posted earnings of 47 cents per share, an increase from 31 cents earned in the year-ago quarter.

Berry Plastics reported record sales of $1.61 billion in the quarter, up 32% from $1.22 billion in the year-ago period. The top line, however, lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.65 billion. The year-over-year increase was primarily attributed to net sales from the acquisition of AVINTIV along with an increase in volumes, partially offset by a decline in selling prices due to the pass-through of lower raw material costs and negative impact from foreign currency changes.

Operational Update

Cost of sales increased 27% to $1.27 billion from $1 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2015. Gross profit surged 52% year over year to $345 million. Gross margin increased 290 basis points (bps) to 21.4% in the quarter.

Selling, general and administrative expenses went up 55% year over year to $138 million. Adjusted operating income came in at $207 million, up from $138 million in the year-ago quarter, leading to a 160 bps expansion in operating margin to 12.8%.

Segmental Performance

Net sales from the Consumer Packaging segment were $687 million, compared with $719 million in the year-ago quarter. Nevertheless, operating profit went up roughly 3.1% to $67 million from $65 million in the year-ago quarter.

The Health, Hygiene, & Specialties segment reported revenues of $568 million, significantly higher than $133 million recorded in the year-earlier quarter. Operating earnings also increased to $53 million from $10 million in the year-ago quarter.

The Engineered Materials segment’s sales fell 3.5% year over year to $359 million. However, operating income was up 21.6% year over year at $45 million.

Financial Update

Berry Plastics ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $212 million versus $228 million as of Sep 26, 2015. The company reported cash from operations of $361 million in the three months ended Apr 2, 2016, compared with $212 million in the comparable year-ago period. Long-term debt was $6 billion as of Apr 2, 2016, compared with $3.7 billion as of Sep 26, 2015.

Outlook

Berry Plastics has reaffirmed its fiscal 2016 adjusted free cash flow guidance at $475 million. However, it raised the operating EBITDA guidance for the fiscal by $10 million to $1,190 million. The company remains committed to its debt reduction goal in order to lower overall leverage. It also expects to benefit from the AVINTIV acquisition in the near term.

Evansville, IN-based Berry Plastics Group makes and sells plastic consumer packaging and engineered materials in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and several other markets around the world. The company sells its products to specialty businesses through its direct field sales force and distributors.

Zacks Rank

Berry Plastics currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Some other well-ranked stocks in the same sector are Crown Holdings Inc. CCK, Sonoco Products Co. SON and Avery Dennison Corporation AVY. All the three stocks hold a Zacks Rank #2.

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