Operating profit at our Industrial/Environmental Filtration segment increased 31% from the fourth quarter of 2010. This increase was across the broad markets we serve in this reporting segment including $1.3 million as a result of our acquisition of TransWeb. Our 14.4% operating margin in the fourth quarter increased 2.2 percentage points from last year including a 1.6 percentage point improvement in gross margin percentage and a 0.6 percentage point reduction in selling and administrative costs as a percentage of sales. This 14.4% operating margin in the fourth quarter propelled our 2011 operating margin in this reporting segment to 11.1%—exceeding our full year 10% operating margin goal.
Net sales at our Packaging segment declined $2.4 million, or 9%, from the fourth quarter of 2010. This reduction was primarily the result of lower sales of decorated flat sheet metal including lower holiday promotional sales. As a result of these lower sales, operating profit in our Packaging segment declined $1.2 million, or 38%, and operating margin decreased 3.6 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2010. However, for the full year 2011, operating profit increased $1.5 million, or 17%, and operating margin increased 1.7 percentage points from last year.”
2012 GuidanceChris Conway commented on 2012 guidance: “We expect 2012 to be another record year where we will build upon our foundation of success and continue to develop our core strategic initiatives including growing the top-line through the introduction of innovative products while leveraging our technology and media development capabilities. As always, we intend to continue to advance our deeply engrained culture of cost containment and continuous improvement in support of our profitable growth. “We anticipate continued growth in our Engine-Mobile Filtration segment in 2012 primarily from higher sales of heavy-duty engine filters in both the U.S. and foreign markets. We expect that our foreign growth will be higher than our domestic growth due to increased sales in China and export sales to South America and the Middle East. We expect our operating margin in our Industrial-Environmental Filtration segment to continue to expand in 2012. This expansion should be driven by an increased sales mix of higher margin process liquid filtration products and improved margins in our air filtration markets. We anticipate some challenges in our Packaging segment in 2012, but we still expect a strong 2012 operating margin in this segment with a mid-point projection of 10%. On a consolidated basis, we expect our organic sales growth in 2012 to be between 6% and 8%, or between 7.5% and 9.5% excluding the impact of the fifty-third week in 2011.”