Global packaging company Sonoco has announced increased sales for its fourth and final quarter, which has helped to boost its overall profits.
Sales for the fourth quarter of 2002 were $728.2 million (€677m), versus $676.6million for the same period in 2001. Net income for the fourth quarter of2002 was $34.8 million, versus $27.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2001.Comparative net income for the fourth quarter of 2002 was $36.8 million,versus $40.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2001.
The company's previously announced restructuring actions, $3 million ($2 millionafter-tax) in charges, were included in the year's fourth quarter,primarily attributing to severance costs related to the announced closings of certaincomposite can facilities
Sales for the full year 2002 were $2.81 billion, versus $2.61 billion in 2001. The increase primarily reflects the full-year impact of acquisitions made in2001 and, to a lesser extent, additional volume in the consumer segment.Volume improvement in the industrial segment was largely offset by lowerpricing. Net income for 2002 was $135.3 million, versus $91.6 million in2001. Comparative net income for 2002 was $143.3 million, versus $157.7million in 2001.
"Sales for the fourth quarter increased 7.6 per cent, compared with thesame period last year, despite a continuing anaemic general economy. Theincrease resulted primarily from the impact of acquisitions and volumeincreases in the engineered carriers and paper operations in the industrialsegment, and from increased volumes in the consumer segment. Company-widevolumes were up 6.3 per cent, compared with the same period in 2001," stated Sonoco CEO Harris DeLoach.
He added that fourth quarter earnings were hurt by higher costs for oldcorrugated containers (OCC), the company's primary raw material. He also said that earnings results for the fourth quarter wereadversely impacted by operating issues in flexible packaging and by continuedweak volumes in several businesses related to the weak general economy."Our objective over the next four years is to grow annual sales to $4 billion, with half generated through a more urgent sense of new product development, geographical expansions, enhanced customer service and overalladded customer value that earns greater price consideration.
The other halfof our sales growth must come from acquisitions complimentary to our existingportfolio of businesses and technologies," commented DeLoach.
He also added that while Sonoco's number of acquisitions declined from 2001, the reason was simply down to anissue of timing and that the company remained aggressively engaged in seekingappropriate acquisitions.