Amcor said the defensive nature of its food and beverage business led to strong economic performance in its full year results.
The Australian-based firm reported profit after tax and significant items of AUS$412.6m (€345.8m US$431.1m), an increase of 15.7% in its full year results for the period ending 30 June.
Rigid plastics reported earnings 13.4% higher driven by the integration benefits of the Ball Plastic Packaging acquisition.
Flexible plastics operating sales margin increased from 9.8% to 11.2% reflecting the ongoing benefits from the Alcan Packaging acquisition.
Amcor’s managing director and CEO, Ken MacKenzie, said more than 85% of the business is in the defensive food, beverage, healthcare and tobacco packaging segments.
“A clear highlight of the year was that these markets have again proven to have very stable demand in difficult economic conditions.
“This strong performance is particularly pleasing given that economic conditions are likely to remain subdued in the developed markets.”
MacKenzie said earnings growth has been boosted by the acquisition of Alcan Packaging and Ball Plastics Packaging.
“During the global financial crisis the business undertook two transformational acquisitions, purchasing Alcan Packaging and Ball Plastic Packaging.
“The integration programs for both acquisitions are ahead of schedule in terms of timing and total synergy benefits."
In the Rigid Plastics business, Amcor closed plants in Delran, New Jersey, Lenexa, Kansas and exited lower margin CSD volumes in Mexico as well as relocating operations in Orlando, Florida, to a larger facility.
North American beveragevolumes were down 7% in the first half due to a cooler summer in 2011 and weak consumer demand in higher priced premium juice products.
Carbonated soft drink and water (CSDW) volumes were 10% lower for the year, due to a decision to exit low margin business and some customers moving to self-manufacture of blown containers.
Beverage volumes in South and Central America were up 2% with solid growth in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia partly offset by declines in Venezuela and Peru.
Amcor predicted earnings for the Rigid Plastics business to be moderately higher due to economic conditions and more summer weather.
In the Flexibles Europe and Americas segment of the business, Amcor reported volumes were stable in the Flexibles Europe and Americas business despite challenging economic conditions.
During the second half, the business announced the closure of a small plant in Drammen, Norway which is expected to cease operation in October 2012 while the benefits of a site in Viersen, Germany being realised in the second half.
Flexibles Asia Pacific incudes 34 plants and had a strong year, with earnings and returns higher than the prior year, driven by strong volume growth, cost management and operating improvements.
The acquisition of Aperio Group in May 2012 is expected to deliver net synergy benefits of A$25m, offsetting this is the closure of the Regents Park facility in New South Wales and the shuttering of the Cooper Plains, Queensland plant, although volume will be transferred to another Queensland site.
In China, sales increased 13% due to new capacity added in the last year as high barrier film was successful in gaining a share in the food market.
The group predicted volumes are likely to be stable in developed countries, with continued growth in emerging markets and benefit from acquisitions in Australasia, Mexico, India and Argentina.