As noted on Slide 3, this presentation uses certain non-GAAP financial measures, including those that exclude special items, such as restructuring charges and acquisition-related costs and EBITDA before and after special items. EBITDA is defined as net income, plus interest expense net, plus income tax expense, less equity earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries, net of tax plus depreciation, depletion and amortization expense.
Management believes the non-GAAP measures provide a better indication of operational performance and a more stable platform on which to compare the historical performance of the Company than the most nearly equivalent GAAP data. All non-GAAP data in the presentation are indicated by footnotes. Tables showing the reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP measures are available at the end of this presentation and in the second quarter 2011 earnings release.
Giving prepared remarks today are Chairman and CEO, Mike Gasser; President and COO, David Fischer and Senior Vice President and CFO, Rob McNutt.
I will now turn the call over to Mr. Gasser.Michael J. Gasser Thank you, Deb. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining our call. For those of you following this presentation on the web, we are on Slide number 4. I will begin by noting that this was the best third quarter in the company’s history. Credit for the quarter’s record net sales and EBITDA before special items goes largely to the continued execution of our growth strategy, which includes the 13 acquisitions we made over the last 12 months. In addition, higher selling prices coupled with the positive impact of foreign currency translation also contributed to our strong sales growth. Following the first week in July however, the demand for Rigid Industrial Packaging in Western Europe and North America was lower than we had anticipated. We have seen some recovery in overall demand based on August orders and shipments on a seasonally adjusted basis, but in some specific geographies such as the Netherlands and Germany, there’s continued softness. We are responding with the appropriate level of mitigating action and have a tiered plan in place just as we’ve had in the past. We will respond proportionately and protect our long term growth prospects.