Operating income for the first quarter of 2014 was $88.6 million, an increase of 43.1% compared to $61.9 million for the comparable quarter of 2013. The Label Segment posted a 22.8% increase in operating income while the Container Segment posted a 13.2% increase in operating income for the comparable first quarters. The Avery Segment recorded a strong first quarter with a $13.1 million operating income.
EBITDA was $117.8 million for the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 45.4% compared to $81.0 million for the first quarter of 2013, driven principally by above noted acquisitions. EBITDA improved 36.8% excluding the impact of currency translation.
“We are excited to report another record quarter, with our legacy business outperforming the very strong 2013 prior year period and acquisitions delivering better than expected results; particularly our new Avery consumer arm,” said Geoffrey T. Martin, president and CEO. “The comparatively weaker Canadian dollar against many currencies, notably excluding the Brazilian real, translated to ten cents earnings per share positive impact; partially offset by transaction challenges in certain international markets due to the rising U.S. dollar and euro. Nonetheless, strong operational results, successful acquisition integrations and a currency tailwind combined to deliver our fourteenth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in adjusted earnings per share.
“CCL Label sales increased 36% driven by acquisitions, solid 5% organic growth and positive currency translation,” Martin added. “North American sales improved sequentially but were comparatively flat organically on sluggish consumer staples demand in the United States influenced by the tough winter.
“Underlying profits were up moderately but strong automotive demand continued to drive good results at CCL Design alongside solid performance, aided by cost reduction and renewed focus at the rest of the acquired operations from Avery Dennison,” he said. “Excluding acquisitions, European sales and profitability were up mid-single digits in local currencies as demand improved in our consumer and automotive businesses with the Food & Beverage sector an area of strength aided by exports to Africa. Emerging Markets posted double digit sales increases with particular strength in China and Mexico, although growth rates softened appreciably from 2013 levels in Brazil compounded by the decline of the real. Our joint ventures posted solid underlying results held in check by start-up costs in Thailand, softer mix and foreign exchange challenges in the Middle East and the devaluation of the ruble to the euro in Russia. Overall profitability continued to improve for the Segment with margins compressed only due to the acquisition mix effect.
“Results at Avery significantly exceeded expectations with an operating income of $13 million in its seasonally slow quarter often noted for operating losses in pre-acquisition prior year periods. Cost saving initiatives globally and market share gains in the United States in the important label category were the primary drivers. North America and Europe both delivered robust results ahead of our plans with Latin American and Asia Pacific performance solid. The supply chain facilities consolidation progressed smoothly without service disruption and is heading for a successful completion later this year. After all the changes in the second half of last year, we are pleased to see the organization settle down with renewed energy and focus on innovation fueled by a very good start to 2014.”
“Debt increased by $124 million in the first quarter due largely to the Sancoa acquisition and currency translation; cash on hand was $194 million,” Martin concluded. “However, with significantly improved results the consolidated net debt to annualized EBITDA leverage ratio remained a comfortable 1.6 times. Given our strong cash flow and prospects for the balance of the year, your Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.25 per Class B non-voting share and $0.2375 per Class A voting share payable to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 16, 2014, to be paid on June 30, 2014. CCL has delivered dividends to shareholders without omission or reduction for over 30 years.”