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AptarGroup CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: ATR

Our newest segment, Food and Beverage, also had a good year posting organic sales growth up 18% primarily driven by strong demand for our unique dispensing systems for beverage products. An example of a new category that we entered in 2011 is the water flavoring category. Kraft Foods launched their MiO Water Enhancer using our custom simply squeeze closure and they've expanded their line recently and we're now selling an energy version.

In spite of our strong sales growth profitability was restrained by costs to establish this new segment and start up costs associated with a new facility in the US. With our ability to generate strong free cash flow we're able to invest in several growth opportunities during the year.

In May, we announced that we had purchased a facility in Lincolnton, North Carolina that will become our first facility dedicated to serving to our food and beverage customers. I'm happy to say that the retrofitting of the facility has gone according to plan. We've hired a terrific team and we're on schedule to begin production in the first quarter of this year.

In October, we announced that we had purchased an injection molder in India to expand our presence there to serve our multi national and also local customers. The company we purchased had been a licensee of our products since 2006. Also at that the time we announced that we're opening a clean room manufacturing facility in India to server our Indian pharmaceutical customers as they grow in India and abroad.

I'm also happy to report that this facility was dedicated in January and production will begin in the first quarter. We've also upgraded and expanded our capacity in other important regions, such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia and China. And in November, we announced that we'd entered into the auto injector field through an acquisition of a minority stake in UK-based medical device company called Oval Medical Technologies.

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