(By Balaseshan) Sealed Air Corp. (NYSE: SEE) reported a narrower loss for the fourth quarter due to lower expenses, and adjusted earnings exceeded market expectations. The food safety services company guided fiscal 2013 adjusted profit below consensus.
Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations rose to 34 cents from 6 cents, while Wall Street expected 29 cents. Net loss from continuing operations narrowed to $10.9 million for the fourth quarter from $59.8 million in the year-ago quarter.
Net sales increased to $1.978 billion from $1.963 billion with 2.6% higher volumes offset by 1.7% of unfavorable currency translation.
Food & Beverage (F&B) sales increased 2.4% on a constant dollar basis, or increased 0.9% on a reported basis. F&B achieved 3.1% higher volumes, led by 3.6% volume growth in hygiene solutions and 2.9% volume growth in the food packaging and food solutions businesses.
Institutional & Laundry (I&L) sales increased 2.3% on a constant dollar basis and were flat on a reported basis. I&L achieved 0.7% higher volumes and 1.6% higher price/mix, offset by 2.4% of unfavorable currency translation.
Protective Packaging sales increased 1.5% on a constant dollar basis, or 0.6% on a reported basis, with 2.6% higher volumes and 1.1% lower price/mix, as well as unfavorable currency translation of 0.9%.
Sales from Medical Applications and New Ventures increased 13.4% on a constant dollar basis, or 9.1% on a reported basis, with 12.7% higher volumes and 1.1% from an acquisition. This sales increase was primarily driven by increased market penetration in Europe.
Looking ahead for the full year 2013, the company expects adjusted EPS from continuing operations in the range of $1.10 to $1.20 and sales of about $7.7 billion to $7.9 billion, while Street predicts EPS of $1.25 on revenue of $7.77 billion.
"We continue to operate in a challenging economic environment, particularly in Europe. However, we are confident in the fundamentals of our business. We are committed to increase profitability and aggressively manage our cost structure," said Jerome Peribere, President and Chief Operating Officer.
SEE ended Friday's regular session at $19.40. The stock has been trading in the 52-week range between $11.51 and $21.24.