AptarGroup, Inc. ATR delivered fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings per share of 80 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 79 cents. However, the bottom line declined 13% year over year. Notably, core sales improved in several of the company’s markets in the quarter including the consumer health care, injectables, active packaging and food markets. However, it was offset by continued inventory reductions by several key customers in the personal care and beauty markets, and passing through of lower resin costs.
On a reported basis, earnings came in at 73 cents per share compared with 62 cents reported the year-ago quarter.
Total revenues declined 2% year over year to $671 million in the fourth quarter owing to changes in currency exchange rates. The top line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $678 million. Core sales, excluding currency and acquisition effects, dipped 1% including a negative impact from passing on lower resin costs. Core sales growth in the Pharma segment was negated by decline in core sales in other segments.
AptarGroup, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
AptarGroup, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | AptarGroup, Inc. Quote
Cost of sales was down 5% to $436 million from the $458 million reported in the year-ago quarter. Gross profit increased 4% year over year to $236 million. Gross margin came in at 35.1% during the fourth quarter of 2019, up from 33.2% in the prior-year quarter.
Selling, research, development and administrative expenses inched up 1% year over year to $108 million. Adjusted operating income went down 12% year over year to $81.6 million. Operating margin came in at 12.1% in the quarter under review, down from 13.5% in the year-ago-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA declined 7% year over year to $131 million in the reported quarter.
Total revenues in the Beauty + Homes segment declined 7% year over year to $315 million. Adjusted operating income in the fourth quarter was down 24% year over year to $17.1 million.
Total revenues in the Pharma segment rose 4% year over year to $267 million. Adjusted operating income fell 1% year over year to $76 million in the fourth quarter.
Total revenues in the Food + Beverage segment were down 2% year over year to $89 million. Operating income plunged 39% year over year to $2.2 million.
AptarGroup reported cash and cash equivalents of around $242 million as of Dec 31, 2019, down from $262 million as of Dec 31, 2018. The company generated $514 million of cash flow from operations compared with $313 million in the prior year. At 2019- end, long-term debt was approximately $1,085 million, down from $1,126 million as of Dec 31, 2018.
During the year, AptarGroup’s Board raised cash dividend by 6%. This marked the company’s 26th consecutive year of dividend hike. Through 2019, AptarGroup has returned $177 million to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases.
In 2019, AptarGroup expanded services platform for the Pharma segment with acquisitions of leading analytical laboratories, Nanopharm and Gateway Analytical, and training device and patient onboarding expert, Noble International.
AptarGroup reported adjusted earnings per share of $3.95 in 2019, up 2% from the prior year. Earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.94. On a reported basis, earnings per share came in at $3.66 compared with $3.00 in 2018.
Sales came in at $2.86 billion in 2019, up 3% from the previous year. However, the top line fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.87 billion.
Major Developments Post Q4
Subsequent to the end of the quarter, AptarGroup completed the previously announced equity investment in BTY, a leading Chinese provider of decorative and complete color cosmetics packaging solutions. AptarGroup also announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Fusion Packaging, a leader in high quality, prestige airless and color cosmetics packaging, and conception-to-launch turnkey solutions for the North American beauty market.
The company also announced plans to consolidate the North American Beauty + Home footprint. AptarGroup decided to close its Stratford and Torrington, CT sites by the end of 2020 and consolidate this production capacity into other North American facilities. Following the changes, the company expects to be better poised to serve customers efficiently with an aim to drive long-term profitable growth. Estimated costs associated with the footprint consolidations are projected at around $20 million.
AptarGroup expects weaker first-quarter 2020 results compared with year-ago period. Customers in the Beauty + Home segment are lowering inventory reductions thanks to current macroeconomic uncertainties. The negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak is likely to dent the segment’s results. The travel retail industry, which is a significant part of the beauty market, is likely to have been affected.
The Pharma segment will face difficult comparisons in the ongoing quarter given the exceptional growth last quarter. The Food + Beverage segment’s Asian business is also likely bear the brunt of the coronavirus impact.
AptarGroup now projects adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for first-quarter 2020 between 85 cents and 93 cents. It reflects a tax rate of 28-30%.
Share Price Performance
Shares of the company have gained 12.6% over the past year, against the industry’s decline of 32.2%.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
AptarGroup currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the Industrial Products sector are Northwest Pipe Company NWPX, Sharps Compliance Corp SMED and Graco Inc. GGG. All of these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), at present. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Northwest Pipe has an expected earnings growth rate of 19.5% for the current year. The stock has appreciated 38% over the past year.
Sharps Compliance has an estimated earnings growth rate of a whopping 767% for the ongoing year. In a year’s time, the company’s shares have gained 48%.
Graco has a projected earnings growth rate of 4.3% for 2020. The company’s shares have rallied 20% over the past year.
More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone!
It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 27 billion devices in just 3 years, creating a $1.7 trillion market.
Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 6 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2020.
Click here for the 6 trades >>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
Graco Inc. (GGG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Sharps Compliance Corp (SMED) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Northwest Pipe Company (NWPX) : Free Stock Analysis Report
AptarGroup, Inc. (ATR) : Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.