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Greif's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

SG&A expenses were $119 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with $98 million. This increase of approximately $21 million included $13 million of SG&A expenses related to acquired companies, nearly $3 million of negative impact from foreign currency translation, approximately $5 million of higher professional fees particularly directed towards sourcing and administrative excellence initiatives.

Operating profit before special items was approximately $95 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 versus $120 million in 2010. Special items totaled $26 million compared to $13 million for the same period last year, or $18 million and $12 million net of tax, respectively, for both periods. This included $19 million of restructuring charges driven by consolidation activities in our Flexibles business, as we continue to integrate those acquisitions, as well as restructuring in our Rigids business in response to weak markets in Europe. Approximately 80% of these restructuring charges were cash. The most significant items included severance costs, which are higher in Europe than in other regions and the cost to terminate lease commitments.

There were also $5 million of acquisition-related costs and a $1.5 million noncash asset impairment charge for the quarter. Net interest expense was $26 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with $18 million last year. This was due to the higher level of debt related to acquisitions during the past year consistent with our growth strategy, including pack2pack on August 1 and the related working capital requirements.

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