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Sealed Air (SEE) Tops Q1 Earnings, Maintains 2016 Outlook

Sealed Air Corporation’s SEE first-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings per share of 50 cents decreased 7% year over year. The figure, however, surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 48 cents, delivering a positive surprise of 4%.

Including special items, earnings came in at 48 cents per share, flat with the year-ago quarter.

Total revenue declined 9% on a reported basis to $1,591 million in the quarter. Revenues also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.594 billion. On a constant dollar basis, net sales declined 2.4%. Currency had a negative impact of $113 million on net sales.

Cost and Margins

Cost of sales declined 9% year over year to $1001 million. Gross profit declined 9% to $591 million. Gross margin contracted 10 basis points (bps) to 37.1% in the quarter.

SG&A expenses decreased 7% to $409 million from $390 million in the prior-year period. Adjusted operating profit decreased 14% to $179 million. Operating margin contracted 70 bps to 11.3%.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $243 million, compared with $284 million in the year-ago quarter. The decline was due to the currency headwinds, divestitures and product rationalization efforts, and formula pricing in the Food Care division. Consequently, adjusted EBITDA margin also contracted 100 bps to 15.3%.

Segment Performance

Food Care: Net sales plunged 13% year over year to $765 million. Adjusted EBITDA also tanked 22% to $148 million.

Diversey Care: In this segment, net sales were $441 million, down 6% on a reported basis. Adjusted EBITDA also tumbled 12% to $36 million from $41 million in the year-ago quarter.

Product Care: The segment reported net sales of $367 million, down 3% year over year on a reported basis. Adjusted EBITDA, however, edged up 0.9% to $77 million.

Financial Updates

Cash and cash equivalents were $316 million as of Mar 31, 2016, down from $358 million as of Dec 31, 2015. Cash flow from operating activities in the first quarter of 2016 was $4 million, a drastic decline from $325 million in the prior-year quarter primarily due to working capital and lower net earnings.

In Mar 2015, the company received a tax refund of $235 million related to a settlement agreement payment. Excluding the tax refund, cash flow from operating activities in the quarter was $90 million.

For the first time in the past six years, Sealed Air’s board of directors approved an increase in the company’s quarterly dividend. The dividend was hiked 23% to 16 cents per share from 13 cents paid earlier.

During the quarter, Sealed Air repurchased approximately 0.7 million shares of its common stock for approximately $32 million. As of Dec 31, 2015, average shares outstanding were 197 million, compared to 212 million as of Mar 31, 2015.

Cash outflow was $48 million in the first quarter, unlike inflow of $69 million in the prior-year quarter. The company’s net debt increased to $4.38 billion as of Mar 31, 2016 from $4.2 billion as of Dec 31, 2015. Usage of working capital, higher capital expenditures, and amounts utilized for share repurchases and dividends led to the increase in net borrowings.

Guidance

For 2016, Sealed Air reiterated its net sales guidance of approximately $6.8 billion. This is based on the assumption of an unfavorable impact of approximately $400 million or 6% from foreign currency translation. Adjusted for unfavorable currency and a $102 million decline related to 2015 divestitures, net sales are expected to increase approximately 3.5% on an organic basis.

Adjusted EBITDA is estimated in the range of $1.17 billion to $1.19 billion, which assumes $65 million of unfavorable currency translation. On an organic basis, adjusted EBITDA is expected to increase in the range of 7–9%.

Sealed Air also maintained its adjusted EPS guidance in the range of $2.52 to $2.60. The outlook assumes an adjusted tax rate of 24%.

Free cash flow is projected to be approximately $550 million, including capital expenditure of approximately $275 million and cash restructuring payments of approximately $110 million.

Sealed Air currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Other Stocks to Consider

Some stocks in the sector worth considering include Packaging Corporation of America PKG, Bemis Company, Inc. BMS and AptarGroup, Inc. ATR. All of these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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SEALED AIR CORP (SEE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
BEMIS (BMS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
PACKAGING CORP (PKG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
APTARGROUP INC (ATR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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