Segment gross margin was 41.0 percent compared with 38.0 percent in the prior-year quarter. The increase in gross margin primarily was due to improved base pricing and lower unit manufacturing costs resulting from increased operating leverage and productivity initiatives.
Segment operating income was $102.6 million compared with $96.9 million in the prior-year quarter. Segment operating margin was 31.3 percent, an increase of 490 basis points compared with the prior-year quarter.
Sales up 2.7 percent; segment operating income up 20.3 percentFourth quarter sales for the Materials Technologies operating segment, which includes packaging technologies and engineered materials for consumer, industrial, coatings and pharmaceutical applications, were $210.1 million compared with $204.5 million in the prior-year quarter. The 2.7 percent increase was due to higher sales volumes (+5.0 percent) and improved pricing (+0.9 percent) which more than offset unfavorable currency translation (-3.2 percent). Sales in emerging regions, which represented 43.1 percent of sales, grew 6.8 percent largely due to strong sales in developing Asian countries, including China. Segment gross margin was 34.3 percent compared with 31.9 percent in the prior-year quarter. The increase in gross margin was due to increased operating leverage and lower manufacturing costs. Segment operating income was $39.7 million, an increase of 20.3 percent compared with the prior-year quarter. Segment operating margin was 18.9 percent, an increase of 280 basis points compared with the prior-year quarter. Construction Products Sales up 2.3 percent; segment operating income up 53.3 percent Fourth quarter sales for the Construction Products operating segment, which includes specialty construction chemicals and specialty building materials used in commercial, infrastructure and residential construction, were $259.4 million, an increase of 2.3 percent compared with the prior-year quarter. Higher sales volumes (+2.8 percent) and improved pricing (+0.8 percent) were offset partially by unfavorable currency translation (-1.3 percent). The acquisition of Rheoset Industria during the third quarter contributed $7.9 million to sales, which more than offset a $4.9 million decrease in sales due to the 2011 divesture of the vermiculite business.