Pop-Pop-Pop sounds like cha-ching for Sealed Air. Best known as the company that created Bubble Wrap, Sealed Air also makes Instapak foam, Jiffy mailers, and Fill-Air inflatable packaging systems, through its Protective Packing segment. Its largest segment, Food Packaging, makes Cryovac bags, trays, and absorbent pads for use by food processors and supermarkets to protect meat and poultry. Other products include shrink packaging for consumer goods, such as toys and CDs; medical packaging for pacemakers and IV fluid; and specialty packaging for fabricators and the manufacturing industry. Sealed Air serves customers in 175 countries and operates through three subsidiaries: Sealed Air, Cryovac, and Diversey.
Sealed Air acquired Diversey, one of the largest industrial and institutional cleaning products manufacturer, for $2.6 billion ($2.1 billion in cash and 31.7 million shares of Sealed Air stock at $16.70 a share) in late 2011. The largest acquisition in its history gave Sealed Air a lucrative new revenue stream with its entry into the chemical cleaning and hygiene industry. Revenue from Diversey immediately accounted for 14% of the Sealed Air's total sales for 2011.
On the heels of this milestone acquisition, Sealed Air announced it would be reorganizing into three global business segments for 2012 and beyond in order to efficiently integrate Diversey into its operations. Going forward Sealed Air will operate through Food and Beverage (food and drink packaging), Institutional and Laundry (representing Diversey's legacy business), and Protective Packaging (new segment featuring the company's former protective packaging, shrink packaging, and specialty materials segments). As part of the shift, Sealed Air agreed to sell off its Diversey G.K. unit, which operates under the Diversey Japan name. The Carlyle Group, a global asset manager, is acquiring the business for $377 million through a management buyout that's to be funded by its local Carlyle Japan Partners II. The move allows Sealed Air to focus on other areas in Asia for growth.
Sealed Air relies on diversification for its growth, and its acquisition of Diversey is a prefect example of this strategy. With its broad reach and varied product lines, the company reduces its exposure to an economic downturn in the event that sales in a particular region or particular industry drop. From 2010 to 2011, Sealed Air achieved sales growth of about 26%, from $4.5 billion to $5.6 billion. However, its profits declined by 42% from $256 million to $149 million, mostly as a result of unfavorable translations in foreign currencies and high interest expenses it paid on loans.
Realizing more than half of its revenues from non-US regions, the company actively seeks emerging high-growth markets for its products. Geographically, the company's subsidiaries own 145 manufacturing facilities worldwide, with each facility tailoring the products it makes to the demands of the local market.
In order to continue to develop and introduce new products, Sealed Air decided to outsource some of its technically less complex product lines, such as foam and plastic trays, to third-party manufacturers. The outsourcing requires less investment from the company in regard to capital expenditure, and it frees up the company to develop more innovative products (the company has more than 4,600 patents), which the company hopes will continue to improve its competitive advantage. – less