Sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 16.6% to $1,234.5 million, compared to $1,058.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, with 3.9% organic growth and 14.9% acquisition growth, primarily driven by the Innovia Group of companies acquired on Feb. 28, 2017, partially offset by 2.2% negative foreign currency translation.
Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2017 was $205.1 million, an increase of 27.7% compared to $160.6 million for the comparable quarter of 2016.
For the 2017 year, sales, operating income and net earnings improved 19.6%, 22.2% and 36.9% to $4.8 billion, $737.5 million and $474.1 million, respectively, compared to Dec. 31, 2016.
The year ending Dec. 31, 2017, included results from 12 acquisitions completed since Jan. 1, 2016, delivering acquisition related sales growth for the period of 19.1%. Organic sales growth of 2.1% provided the foundation for solid profit improvement and foreign currency translation had a negative impact of $0.04 per share.
“Strong operating performance and changes to U.S. tax rates combined to deliver record earnings performance for both the fourth quarter and 2017,” Geoffrey T. Martin, president and CEO, said. “CCL’s 7.7% fourth quarter organic growth on top of 6.9% in the prior year period exceeded expectations as gains in most geographies and business lines, including CCL Secure, drove exceptional profitability. Checkpoint posted solid 4.0% organic growth and improved profitability while both Avery and Container delivered increased operating margins despite top line challenges. Innovia continues to wrestle with raw material inflation and recorded higher amortization expense as we finalized the Innovia purchase accounting equation.”
Martin concluded, “2017 debt repayments totaled $384.5 million, including $169.2 million in the fourth quarter. Additionally, improved profitability measures including the trailing results of the acquired Innovia business, reduced the company’s leverage ratio, to 1.81 times EBITDA. Acquisitions continue to be a focus for excess free cash flow; both bolt-on transactions such as the announced Fascia Graphics transaction that closed in January 2018 and larger opportunities as they come up for consideration.”