HARTSVILLE, S.C., March 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sonoco (NYSE: SON), one of the largest diversified global packaging companies, today announced that its 2012 Annual Report to Shareholders is now available on the Company's website at http://www.sonoco.com, in the "Investor Relations" section. The report, entitled Delivering On the Promise™, reviews Sonoco's 2012 financial performance and examines how the Company's consumer, industrial and protective packaging businesses are satisfying its customers around the world with high-quality products and services.
"In today's challenging and competitive market environment, Delivering on the Promise involves much more than asking our customers about the next bid for the next product. Our future success depends on developing innovative ways to respond to customers' broader needs. For instance, we must continually provide shelf impact for our customers' products through value-creating packaging development. Furthermore, Sonoco is the only packaging company that can provide its customers with a complete line of retail merchandising solutions, including point-of-purchase displays, packaging fulfillment and supply chain management along with product protection and security. Finally, we can even help our customers through our recycling services. Delivering on the Promise means satisfying our customers in ways we believe our competition simply can't match," wrote Harris E. DeLoach Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, in his letter to shareholders.
DeLoach, who is retiring as Sonoco's CEO on March 31, 2013, pointed out that 2012 was an important year in the continuing transformation of the Company into a global total solutions provider of consumer, industrial and protective packaging and services. Sonoco successfully integrated the largest acquisition in Company history following the November 2011 purchase of Tegrant Holding Corp., which made Sonoco the leading provider of custom-engineered protective packaging solutions in North America. The acquisition helped Sonoco achieve record sales in 2012, along with record gross profits, and base EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) grew by 2.4%. While base earnings declined 3.5% to $2.21 per diluted share in 2012, it was still the fifth highest in the Company's history. In addition, free cash flow (cash from operations minus net capital expenditures and dividends) grew to $101.2 million, compared with a negative $31.9 million last year.
"Delivering on the Promise is more than satisfying the needs of our customers. It means awarding our shareholders with billions of dollars in cash dividends paid over 350 consecutive quarters, dating back more than 87 years. We're also Delivering on the Promise by contributing to the needs of the communities where we live and operate. Sonoco was ranked for the second year in a row as the top global packaging company for sustainability and corporate responsibility on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. We keep our promise to our employees as well by focusing on improving their health and safety and by providing opportunities for them to succeed," DeLoach added.
Sonoco has mailed the 2012 Annual Report and Form 10-K and proxy statement to its shareholders in preparation for its annual meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at the Center Theater, 212 North Fifth Street, Hartsville, beginning at 11 a.m. ET. Shareholders who are unable to attend the meeting in person can still access a live webcast via the Internet at http://www.sonoco.com, under the "Webcast" section in "Investor Relations." Those planning to participate should plan to connect to the live webcast at least 10 minutes prior to the start. The meeting webcast also will be archived on the "Investor Relations" section of Sonoco's website.
Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $4.8 billion, the Company has more than 19,900 employees working in 347 operations in 34 countries, serving many of the world's best-known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2012/2013 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the Company, visit our website at sonoco.com.