Sealed Air Corporation Reports Operating Results for the Second Quarter and First Six Months of 2000

Saddlebrook, New Jersey, UNITED STATES


SADDLE BROOK, N.J., July 26, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- Sealed Air Corporation (NYSE:SEE) reported today higher net sales, operating profit and net earnings for the second quarter and first six months of 2000 compared with the respective 1999 periods.

Commenting on the Company's performance, William V. Hickey, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Our business fundamentals remain strong with mid- to high-single digit unit growth, on-target operating expense levels and solid cash flow. Although the rapid increase in raw material costs is having a negative effect on our profit margins in the short term, we are confident in the continuing positive outlook for our business."

Highlights for the Second Quarter of 2000 include:


 --  Net sales increased 5% to $731,542,000 from $695,121,000 for the
     second quarter of 1999. The increase in net sales for the quarter
     was primarily due to higher unit volume and, to a lesser extent,
     higher average selling prices for certain of the Company's
     products and the added net sales of several small acquired
     businesses. Excluding the negative effect of foreign currency
     translation, net sales would have increased 9% compared with the
     second quarter of 1999.
 
 --  Gross profit was $253,973,000 or 34.7% of net sales compared with
     $253,580,000 or 36.5% of net sales for the second quarter of
     1999. The decrease in gross profit as a percentage of net sales
     was due primarily to higher raw material costs.
 
 --  Operating profit increased to $112,366,000 or 15.4% of net sales
     from $109,280,000 or 15.7% of net sales for the second quarter of
     1999. The decrease in operating profit as a percentage of net
     sales was due primarily to the relative decrease in gross profit
     discussed above.
 
 --  Net earnings increased to $53,831,000 from $51,192,000 for the
     second quarter of 1999.
 
 --  Basic and diluted earnings per common share increased to $0.44
     from $0.40 for the second quarter of 1999.
 
 --  Earnings per common share, computed as if the Company's
     outstanding preferred stock had been converted, increased to
     $0.47 from $0.44 for the second quarter of 1999.
 
 --  Assuming conversion of the Company's outstanding preferred stock,
     earnings per common share, excluding goodwill amortization, were
     $0.59 for the second quarter of 2000.
 
 -------
 
 Operating Results
 
 --  Net sales for the first six months of 2000 increased 5% to
     $1,448,130,000 from $1,374,058,000 for the 1999 period. This
     increase in net sales was due primarily to higher unit volume
     and, to a lesser extent, higher average selling prices for
     certain of the Company's products and the added net sales of
     several small acquired businesses. Excluding the negative effect
     of foreign currency translation, net sales would have increased
     9% compared with the first six months of 1999.
 
 --  Net sales for the Company's food packaging segment increased 3%
     for the second quarter and first six months of 2000 compared with
     the respective 1999 periods. This was due primarily to higher
     unit volume. For the second quarter, net sales for this segment
     also benefited from certain higher average selling prices.
     Excluding the negative effect of foreign currency translation,
     net sales for this segment would have increased 7% and 6% for the
     second quarter and first six months compared with the respective
     1999 periods.
 
 --  Net sales for the Company's protective and specialty packaging
     segment increased 9% and 10% for the second quarter and first six
     months of 2000 compared with the respective 1999 periods. The
     increases in both periods were due primarily to higher unit
     volume and, to a lesser extent, certain higher average selling
     prices and the added net sales of several small acquired
     businesses. Excluding the negative effect of foreign currency
     translation, net sales for this segment would have increased 11%
     and 13% for the second quarter and first six months compared with
     the respective 1999 periods.
 
 --  Gross profit for the first six months of 2000 increased to
     $511,962,000 or 35.4% of net sales from $499,278,000 or 36.3% of
     net sales for the first six months of 1999 due primarily to the
     higher level of net sales partially offset by higher raw material
     costs. These higher costs led to the decline in gross profit as a
     percentage of net sales.
 
 --  Marketing, administrative and development expenses including
     goodwill amortization declined modestly as a percentage of net
     sales for the second quarter and first six months of 2000
     compared with the respective 1999 periods. These expenses
     declined to 19.4% of net sales for the second quarter and 19.6%
     of net sales for the first six months compared with 20.8% for
     each of the respective 1999 periods. As in the second quarter and
     first six months of 1999, the Company continued to incur
     information system costs related to implementation of its
     enterprise resource planning system.
 
 --  Operating profit for the first six months of 2000 increased to
     $228,287,000 or 15.8% of net sales from $214,113,000 or 15.6% of
     net sales for the first six months of 1999. This increase as a
     percentage of net sales was due primarily to the changes in costs
     and operating expenses discussed above.
 
 --  Other expense, net, which consists primarily of interest expense,
     was essentially unchanged for the second quarter and declined
     modestly for the first six months of 2000 compared with the
     respective 1999 periods.
 
 --  The effective tax rate for the second quarter and first six
     months of 2000 was 45.5%. The Company's effective tax rate is
     higher than applicable statutory rates primarily due to the
     non-deductibility for tax purposes of goodwill amortization. The
     Company expects that its effective tax rate will remain higher
     than statutory rates for 2000.
 
 --  Net earnings for the first six months of 2000 increased to
     $108,814,000 from $97,806,000 for the first six months of 1999.

---------

Business

Sealed Air is a leading global manufacturer of a wide range of food, protective and specialty packaging materials and systems. To view the Company's latest financial news online via the World Wide Web, visit http://www.cfonews.com/see.

Certain statements made by the Company in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements include comments as to the Company's beliefs and expectations as to future events and trends affecting the Company's business. These forward-looking statements are based upon management's current expectations concerning future events and trends and are necessarily subject to uncertainties, many of which are outside the control of the Company. The factors stated under the heading "Forward-Looking Statements" in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition, which appears in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2000, could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements.

---------


                        SEALED AIR CORPORATION
                 Results for the period ended June 30
                             (Unaudited)
             (In thousands of dollars, except share data)
            CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS
 
                                         Quarter Ended June 30
                                         ---------------------
                                                         % Increase
                                   2000          1999     (Decrease)
                                   ----          ----    ----------   
 Net sales by business
  segment: (1)
   Food packaging                $ 439,298    $ 425,868        3    
   Protective and specialty
    packaging                      292,244      269,253        9    
                                 ---------    ---------        
 
     Total net sales               731,542      695,121        5    
 
 Cost of sales                     477,569      441,541        8    
                                 ---------    ---------        
 
 Gross profit                      253,973      253,580        -    
 
 Marketing, administrative and
  development expenses             129,226      131,969       (2)   
 
 Goodwill amortization              12,381       12,331        -    
                                 ---------    ---------        
 
 Operating profit                  112,366      109,280        3    
 
 Other (expense), net              (13,594)     (13,595)       -   
                                 ---------    ---------        
 
 Earnings before income
  taxes                             98,772       95,685        3    
 
 Income taxes                       44,941       44,493        1    
                                 ---------    ---------        
 
 Net earnings                    $  53,831    $  51,192        5    
                                 =========    =========        
 
 Basic earnings per
  common share (2)               $    0.44    $    0.40        
                                 =========    =========        
 
 Diluted earnings per
  common share (2)               $    0.44    $    0.40        
                                 =========    =========        
 
 Weighted average
  number of common
  shares outstanding
  (000's)
    Basic                           83,674       83,626        
                                 =========    =========        
    Diluted                         83,831       83,758        
                                 =========    =========      
 
 
                                       Six Months Ended June 30
                                       ------------------------
                                                        % Increase
                                    2000         1999    (Decrease)
                                    ----         ----    ----------  
 Net sales by           
  business segment: (1) 
   Food packaging              $   868,699  $   845,561        3
   Protective and
    specialty packaging            579,431      528,497       10
                               -----------  -----------
 
   Total net sales               1,448,130    1,374,058        5
 
 Cost of sales                     936,168      874,780        7
                               -----------  -----------
 
 Gross profit                      511,962      499,278        3
 
 Marketing,
  administrative and
  development expenses             258,984      260,583       (1)
 
 Goodwill amortization              24,691       24,582        -
                               -----------  -----------
 
 Operating profit                  228,287      214,113        7
 
 Other (expense), net              (28,628)     (30,478)      (6)
                               -----------  -----------
 
 Earnings before
  income taxes                     199,659      183,635        9
 
 Income taxes                       90,845       85,829        6
                               -----------  -----------
 
 Net earnings                  $   108,814  $    97,806       11
                               ===========  ===========       
                                                            
 Basic earnings per                                          
  common share (2)             $      0.93  $      0.74       
                               ===========  ===========       
                                                            
 Diluted earnings per                                        
  common share (2)             $      0.89  $      0.74      
                               ===========  ===========      
                                                            
 Weighted average number of
  common shares outstanding (000's)
 
   Basic                            83,651       83,505      
                               ===========  ===========      
   Diluted                          84,134       83,637      
                               ===========  ===========      
 
 
 (1) Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform 
     to the current year's presentation.
 
 (2) See the Supplementary Information included with this release for
     the calculation of basic and diluted earnings per common share.
 
 --------- 
                       Supplementary Information
                        SEALED AIR CORPORATION
                 Results for the period ended June 30
                             (Unaudited)
             (In thousands of dollars, except share data)
               CALCULATION OF EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE
 
                                         Quarter Ended June 30
                                         ---------------------
                                            2000        1999
                                            ----        ----
 
 Net earnings                            $ 53,831    $ 51,192
 
 Add: Excess of book value
  over repurchase price of
  preferred stock                              32          29
 
 Less:  Preferred dividend                (17,002)    (17,879)
                                         --------    --------
 Net earnings ascribed to
  common shareholders                    $ 36,861    $ 33,342
                                         ========    ========
 
 Weighted average common
  shares outstanding (000's):
 
  Basic                                    83,674      83,626
                                         ========    ========
  Diluted                                  83,831      83,758
                                         ========    ========
 EPS - Basic (1)                         $   0.44    $   0.40
                                         ========    ========
 EPS - Diluted (1)(2)                    $   0.44    $   0.40
                                         ========    ========
 EPS - As If Converted (1)(3)            $   0.47    $   0.44
                                         ========    ========
 
                                      Six Months Ended June 30
                                      ------------------------
                                          2000         1999
                                          ----         ----
 
 Net earnings                           $ 108,814   $  97,806
 
 Add: Excess of book value
  over repurchase price of
  preferred stock                           2,811          39
 
 Less:  Preferred dividend                (34,099)    (35,789)
                                        ---------   ---------
 Net earnings ascribed to
  common shareholders                   $  77,526   $  62,056
                                        =========   =========
 Weighted average common
  shares outstanding (000's):
 
  Basic                                    83,651      83,505
                                        =========   =========
  Diluted                                  84,134      83,637
                                        =========   =========
 EPS - Basic (1)                        $    0.93   $    0.74
                                        =========   =========
 EPS - Diluted (1)(2)                   $    0.89   $    0.74
                                        =========   =========
 EPS - As If Converted (1)(3)           $    0.95   $    0.85
                                        =========   =========
 
 (1) The basic earnings per common share calculation for the six
     months ended June 30, 2000 includes a $0.03 per share gain
     attributable to the repurchase of preferred stock. Such gain is
     not included in the calculation of diluted earnings per common
     share or as if converted earnings per common share for the
     quarter and six months ended June 30, 2000. The gain attributable
     to the repurchase of preferred stock was not significant in the
     quarter ended June 30, 2000 and the 1999 periods.
 
 (2) For the purpose of calculating diluted earnings per common 
     share, net earnings ascribed to common shareholders have been
     adjusted to exclude the gain attributable to the repurchase of
     preferred stock and to add back dividends attributable to such
     repurchased preferred stock in each period, and the weighted 
     average common shares outstanding have been adjusted to assume
     conversion of the shares of preferred stock repurchased during
     each period in accordance with the Financial Accounting Standards
     Board's Emerging Issues Task Force Topic D-53 guidance.
 
 (3)  The assumed conversion of the outstanding convertible preferred
     stock is not considered in the calculation of diluted earnings
     per common share for all periods presented as the effect is
     antidilutive (i.e., would increase the diluted earnings per
     common share for the quarters ended June 30, 2000 and 1999 to
     $0.47 and $0.44, respectively, and for the six months ended June
     30, 2000 and 1999 to $0.95 and $0.85, respectively).


        

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