Sales for the fourth quarter of 2018 increased 8.0% to $1,332.8 million, compared to $1,234.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2017, with 1.5% organic growth, 5.1% acquisition related growth, and 1.4% positive impact from foreign currency translation. Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $189.2 million compared to $205.1 million for the comparable quarter of 2017.
For the year ending Dec. 31, 2018, sales and operating income improved 8.5% and 5.2% to $5.2 billion and $775.7 million, respectively, compared to Dec. 31, 2017.
“As expected, fourth quarter results were comparatively challenging for the CCL Segment, given the currency adjusted 41% increase in operating income reported for the same period of 2017,” said Geoffrey T. Martin, president and CEO. “Strong organic growth and solid operating performances at our CCL Label business only partly offset slower end markets and plant start-up costs at CCL Design and especially tough comparisons at CCL Secure on a large new currency issue in the prior year period. Segment organic growth, excluding CCL Secure, was 7.0%.
“Checkpoint performance reflects the absence of large, new technology installations this quarter that boosted the prior year period; we will face the same issue for the first quarter of 2019,” Martin added. “Recurring revenue product lines, including apparel labels with RFID inlays, posted solid growth. Avery results in the prior year quarter benefitted from buy forwards for legacy product lines in advance of a Jan. 1, 2018 price increase. Direct-to-consumer businesses continued to grow at double-digit organic rates with excellent operating margins globally.”
“So far, the company’s first quarter order book looks solid overall but somewhat checkered with certain geographies and business areas surprisingly robust, others muted by economic and political uncertainties,” Martin added.