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Avery Dennison profit doubles; dividend boosted

February 02, 2011

Avery Dennison Corp., a maker of adhesives for everything from beverage labels to apparel tags and road signs, said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled on sales gains at its two biggest business segments.

The Pasadena-based company also said its board raised the quarterly dividend by 25 percent, and authorized additional share repurchases.

For the three months ended Jan. 1, Avery Dennison reported net income of $114.2 million, or $1.06 per share, compared with a profit of $49.9 million, or 47 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding items such as restructuring and asset impairment charges, Avery Dennison reported a profit of $105.3 million, or 98 cents per share, in the latest quarter. That was slightly above the consensus forecast of analysts, who expected a profit of 97 cents per share, on average, according to FactSet. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Avery Dennison said sales rose nearly 8 percent to about $1.64 billion from $1.52 billion and topped the average analyst estimate of $1.6 billion. Costs of products sold rose 8 percent to nearly $1.2 billion from $1.11 billion.

Sales at the company's pressure-sensitive materials segment rose 9 percent to $922 million, and sales at the retail information services segment increased 10 percent to $386.3 million. Office and consumer products sales slipped 4 percent to $196.7 million, while sales at other specialty converting businesses rose 11 percent to $132.1 million.

For the full year, Avery Dennison reported a profit of $316.9 million, or $2.97 per share, compared with a loss of $746.7 million, or $7.21 per share, in 2009. The 2009 loss was largely due to one-time items. Revenue rose 9.4 percent to $6.51 billion.

The 25-cent-per share dividend approved by the board is up from a previous payout of 20 cents per share. The dividend is payable March 16 to shareholders of record on March 2.

The board also authorized the repurchase of as many as 5 million additional shares of the company's outstanding common stock. The move increases the current balance of shares available for repurchase to about 6 million.

Avery Dennison also said it expects to post an adjusted profit for 2011 of $3 to $3.30 per share. That range is in line with analysts' consensus forecast for a profit of $3.14 per share.

For this year's first quarter, the company expects its earnings to be at the low end of the historical range of 15 to 20 percent of its full-year earnings. Avery Dennison said the projection reflects "normal seasonality as well as the timing of inflation and pricing actions."

Shares of Avery Dennison slipped 6 cents to $41.74 in midday trading.

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