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8/16/2012 7:03:00 PM
Evansville's Berry Plastics reports net sales, income jump

Susan Orr, Evansville Courier & Press

Berry Plastics Corp. saw both its net sales and its net income improve last quarter as compared to a year ago, the company has reported.

Based in Evansville, Berry makes a range of plastic products including consumer packaging, drink cups, trash bags and films.

For the quarter ended June 30 the company recorded a net income of $31 million, as compared to $13 million a year ago. For the three quarters in Berry's fiscal year to date the company has had net income of $44 million, as compared to a $59 million net loss during the same period in the company's 2011 fiscal year.

The company recorded net quarterly sales of $1.2 billion, up 4.6 percent from the same period last year. For the three quarters in Berry's fiscal year to date, net sales total $3.6 billion, up 6.9 percent over the 2011 fiscal year.

"We were pleased with our results for the 'June ending' quarter," Berry Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Rich told analysts during a conference call Tuesday.

The earnings growth, Rich said, came despite higher resin costs plus a "softness" in customer demand for certain products.

The earnings growth happened, he said, because of improvements in manufacturing and sourcing efficiencies, cost savings and a better mix of products sold.

Sales growth came mostly from Berry's recent acquisitions of the companies Rexam and Filmco, plus modest price increases, Rich said. These gains were partially offset by a sales volume decline of 7 percent.

Berry has also made progress in reducing its leverage, something that has been a high priority for the company.

Leverage is the amount of debt a company has in relation to its stockholders' equity. In general the more debt a company has, the more highly leveraged it is.

On Oct. 1, which was the last day of Berry's 2011 fiscal year, the company's long-term debt equaled $4.54 billion, and its total stockholders' equity was $6 million. As of June 30, the company's long-term debt equaled $4.49 billion and its total stockholders' equity was $50 million.

"We remain committed to achieving further reductions in leverage," Rich said.

Berry is not yet publicly traded, though it does file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company announced in March that it plans to go public, though there is no word as to when that may occur.

Rich declined to answer an analyst's question about Berry's timeline for going public. As is the case with all companies that have announced their intent to go public, Berry is in the midst of a mandatory "quiet period" in which it is restricted from talking about certain topics.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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