Bemis Company, Inc. (NYSE:BMS) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Jan 29, 2015 • 11:00 am ET
Good day and welcome to the Bemis Company Hosted Fourth Quarter 2014 Earnings Conference. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Erin Winters. Please go ahead, ma'am.
Erin M. Winters
Thank you. Good morning and welcome to our fourth quarter 2014 conference call. Today is January 29, 2015. After today's call, a replay will be available on our website, bemis.com, under the Investor Relations section.
Joining me for this call today are: Bemis Company's President and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Austen; our Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Mike Clauer; and our Vice President and Treasurer, Melanie Miller.
Today Bill will begin with comments on strategy and outlook for 2015. Mike will then discuss financial performance. After our comments, we'll answer any questions you have. However, in order to allow everyone an opportunity to participate, we do ask that you limit yourself to one question at a time with a related follow-up and then fall back into the queue for any additional questions. At this time, I'd like to direct you to our website, bemis.com, under the Investor Relations tab, where you'll find our press release, along with supplemental schedules. We'll be referring to these schedules at points throughout today's discussion.
On today's call, we'll also discuss non-GAAP financial measures as we talk about Bemis's performance. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP measures to GAAP measures that we consider most comparable can be found in the press release and supplemental schedules. I'd like to remind everyone that statements regarding future performance of the company made during this call are forward-looking and therefore subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results will differ materially -- may differ materially from historical, expected or projected results due to a variety of factors. Please refer to Bemis Company's regular SEC filings, including the most recently filed Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 to review these factors.
Now, I'll turn the call over to Bill Austen.
William F. Austen
Thank you, Erin, and good morning everyone. Today we reported earnings from continuing operations of $0.57 per share for the fourth quarter and $2.30 for the full year 2014, near the top end of our most recent guidance. On balance, we made progress toward our performance improvement goals. We divested our non-core paper packaging and Pressure Sensitive Material businesses, we increased earnings per share from continuing operations 10%. We increased sales of our target end markets in the U.S. and around the world, including packaging for dairy and liquid products, as well as medical device and pharmaceutical applications. We increased operating profit margins in our Global Packaging segment by 50 basis points with strong momentum in the second half of the year where margins averaged above 8%, reflecting excellent progress toward our goal of double-digit returns in this segment.
We invested $185 million in new capacity to support growth and productivity improvements. And with our leverage in check, we increased our dividend and also repurchased 3.8 million shares. While I am pleased