2. Sonoco Products (SON), a manufacturer of industrial and consumer packaging products along with packaging services, has operations in 312 locations across 35 countries. The company's operates in four segments: consumer packaging, tubes and cores/paper, packaging services, and All Other Sonoco. Its end markets are consumer and industrial.
Of the 11 analysts covering the stock, 64% rated a buy while the remaining advised a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 15.7% to $39.8 in the upcoming 12 months.
For the first quarter of 2011, the company recorded its strongest ever quarter with earnings per share increasing 17% to 56 cents from the year-ago quarter. Net sales during the quarter amounted to $1.1 billion as compared to $935.1 million in the earlier quarter, led by volume growth, higher selling prices realized majorly from the tubes and cores/paper segment. Additionally, the company's acquisition of Associated Packaging Technologies (APT) in 2010 improved sales remarkably.Looking ahead, the company estimates earnings per share to range between 61 to 65 cents per diluted share. For full year 2011, Sonoco forecasts earnings per diluted share between $2.52 and $2.60. Furthermore, the company expects stronger productivity in the tubes and cores/paper segment due to reducing operating downtime in their mill system and an improving price/cost relationship.
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