This represents a 50% increase in earnings per share from the fourth quarter of 2000, when the company reported net earnings before unusual items of $23.0 million, or $0.12 per shar(diluted).
Including unusual items, Owens-Illinois reported a net loss of $5.2 million, or $0.07 per share (diluted), for the fourth quarter of 2001. The company recorded aftertax charges of $37.3 million, or $0.25 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2001, principally for a loss on the sale of glass container operations in India. For the fourth quarter of 2000 the company reported net earnings of $32.3 million, or $0.18 per shar(diluted). Reported results for the fourth quarter of 2000 included a benefit of $9.3 million, or $0.06 per share, to adjust net income tax liabilities in Italy as a result of legislative changes.
Fourth quarter 2001 net sales were $1.346 billion, compared with $1.327 billion in the prior year. The comparison of fourth quarter 2001 net sales with those of the prior year period was affected adversely by foreign currency effects and by the absence of revenues from the company's former labels business, which was sold in the first quarter of 2001. These adverse effects were more than offset by incremental revenues from the Canadian glass container operations, which were acquired in October 2001. In the fourth quarter of 2001, worldwide glass container shipments were slightly lower while worldwide shipments of plastics packaging products were higher than those of
the prior year period.
Joseph H. Lemieux, Owens-Illinois chairman and chief executive officer, said, "Our operations have now achieved improved year-over-year results for the past two quarters and are well positioned to continue that trend as we begin 2002. We expect to benefit from lower cost structures, growth in unit volumes, and improved pricing in a number of product lines. We also expect year-over-year comparisons to benefit from moderating energy prices and lower volatility in foreign exchange rates."
Consolidated EBIT, excluding unusual items, was $154.5 million, compared with consolidated EBIT of $164.9 million, in the fourth quarter of 2000. (EBIT consists of consolidated earnings before interest income, interest expense, provision for income taxes, and minority share owners' interests in earnings of subsidiaries.) The year-over-year EBIT comparison was affected adversely by the absence of contributions from the company's former Harbor Capital Advisors, labels, and Australian minerals businesses, which were sold earlier in 2001.
Interest expense of $98.5 million was down by $27.4 million from the fourth quarter of 2000. The decrease was due to the effects of lower interest rates and a reduction in the company's outstanding debt. Total debt at December 31, 2001 was $5.401 billion, down from $5.850 billion at December 31, 2000. As announced previously, the company used proceeds of more than
$460 million from the sale of its Harbor Capital Advisors business to reduce debt, including a $455 million reduction in the principal amount of its $1.5 billion senior secured term loan.