Operating income for the first quarter of 2019 was $204.8 million compared to $200.6 million for the comparable quarter of 2018. Operating income improved 1.9% excluding currency translation.
Net earnings were $123.6 million for the 2019 first quarter compared to $118.7 million for the 2018 first quarter. Basic and adjusted basic earnings per Class B share were $0.70 and $0.71, respectively, compared to basic and adjusted basic earnings per Class B share of $0.67 and $0.69, respectively, in the prior year first quarter.
“First quarter 2019 performance was in line with our expectations,” said Geoffrey T. Martin, president and CEO. “The CCL Segment posted good 4.2% organic growth, especially given tough comparisons to the exceptional prior year in polymer currency at CCL Secure. Food & Beverage delivered very strong growth and improved profitability. Good results for labels and tubes at Home & Personal Care more than offset a soft quarter in aerosols, while Healthcare & Specialty performance was flat.
“CCL Design performance included a modest decline in automotive sales more than offset by share gains in electronics,” added Martin. “Checkpoint also faced an exceptional comparison with significant chain wide hardware orders for two large retailers driving 16.8% constant currency growth in the prior year period. Excluding sales to these two customers, first quarter underlying performance in the base business was good, while sales of apparel labels and tags, including those with RFID inlays, grew double digit. Avery results had a low prior year hurdle as fourth quarter 2017 buy forwards for legacy product lines ahead of a price increase created a soft 2018 first quarter.”