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Bemis earnings up; Nordenia on the block?

Publically traded flexible-packaging processor Bemis Company (Neenah, WI) posted solid earnings for 2009, towards the top end of its management's forecast at least, while on the other side of the Atlantic the owners of major flexible packaging concern Nordenia are looking for a buyer for the processor.

Bemis' diluted earnings per share for 2009 were $1.40, 13% below the $1.61 per share reported in 2008. Excluding acquisition related charges and financing expenses, severance charges, and a gain on the sale of an asset, diluted earnings per share would have been $1.86 in 2009, at the top end of its management's most recent full year guidance of $1.81-$1.86 per share and to actual results of $1.61 per share in 2008.

Last July Rio Tinto announced that it had signed an agreement to sell its Alcan Packaging Food Americas division to Bemis for $1.2 billion, including as much as $200 million in Bemis shares. The acquisition includes 23 flexible packaging facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and New Zealand. 

In a statement released with the earnings report, Henry Theisen, Bemis Company's president and CEO, said, "I am pleased to report strong 2009 operating performance and a record $476 million of cash flow provided by operations...In 2010, we expect to benefit from the continued strength of our balance sheet, a wide array of recently introduced products, and a larger footprint with the anticipated completion of our Alcan Packaging Food Americas acquisition." For 2009 the company's net sales were $3.5 billion, a decrease of 7% compared to net sales of $3.8 billion in 2008. 

Meanwhile, news is starting to leak out that one of Bemis's top competitors, Nordenia (Greven, Germany), may be for sale. A report from Reuters cited unidentified sources as indicating that Oaktree Capital Management (Los Angeles, CA) is seeking to sell the German flexible-films processor for some €600 million ($844 million).

According to the report, Oaktree is seeking binding bids in mid-February. Both strategic and equity/buyout firms are said to be interested in Nordenia, according to Reuters. The plastics processor has film extrusion and converting facilities throughout the world. Oaktree gained control of the company in 2005. [email protected]

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