Sealed Air

(SEE) - Get Report

expects to miss Wall Street's first-quarter earnings estimates, as outbreaks of foot-and-mouth and mad cow diseases in parts of Europe have bogged down revenue.

The maker of protective and specialty packaging materials for food said it expects earnings to check in at 35 cents to 40 cents a share in the quarter. Eight analysts polled by

Thomson Financial/First Call

are calling for the company to earn 47 cents. The company earned 48 cents in the year-ago period.

The company said net sales for the first quarter should be comparable to top line in the same period last year. Sealed Air brought in $716.6 million in the year-ago period.

Shares of Sealed Air, which is based in Saddle Brook, N.J., dropped $1.53, or 4.3%, to $34.17 in recent

New York Stock Exchange

trading.

The company said that increased sales of packaging for other meats, such as poultry, have helped to offset the shortfall. However, the company also blamed the continuing high cost of raw materials and other energy-related costs as contributing factors to the downward revision.

"Although a number of external factors are adversely affecting our near-term sales and earnings, the underlying strength of our business and our market position are unchanged," the company said in a statement. "The continuing disruption in meat supply and consumption and the sluggish global economy are likely to adversely affect our results beyond the first quarter. In view of these external factors, our results for the remainder of 2001 may not reach our previously stated outlook."