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Schulman looks to grow earnings, make purchases in new fiscal year

By Jim Mackinnon
Beacon Journal business writer

A. Schulman Inc.’s top executives are pretty happy with the Fairlawn polymer company’s performance in 2013.

They say they intend to grow earnings and look into buying companies — even major “transformational” acquisitions — in the current 2014 fiscal year.

“My only disappointment this year was that we did not deliver our goal of year-over-year adjusted earnings growth,” Joseph Gingo, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said Friday. “In fiscal 2013, we continued to execute on our strategies and as a result experienced steady growth despite the stagnant global economy. … Our challenge is to renew the trend of earnings growth in 2014.”

Gingo spoke during a conference call with industry analysts Friday morning. Schulman released its fourth quarter and fiscal year results Thursday after the stock market closed.

Shares of Schulman on Friday rose $1.37 to $34.02, a 52-week high.

Gingo said he is “cautiously optimistic” for the 2014 fiscal year. Customers in Europe remain concerned about the economy there, he said.

Schulman reported net income of $26.1 million, or 89 cents per share, on revenue of $2.1 billion for fiscal 2013. Adjusted net income for fiscal 2013 was $1.83 a share, the company said.

Earnings were down from a year ago while revenue increased. The company a year ago had net income of $50.9 million, or $1.72 a share, on revenue of $2.08 billion.

Schulman expects to earn $2.08 to $2.13 a share for fiscal 2014; the company does not provide revenue estimates.

Chief Financial Officer Joseph Levanduski said Schulman continues to have a strong balance sheet and cash flow.

“We continue to be positioned well financially to pursue our acquisition and organic growth strategy,” he said.

Gingo said Schulman’s recent purchase of thermoplastic manufacturer Perrite Group will, among other things, help the company grow overseas. Schulman expects to close on the purchase of Akron-based Network Polymers at the end of the year, he said.

Gingo mentioned the company’s rebuffed attempt to buy specialty chemical company Ferro Corp. earlier this year. If the $855 million deal with the Mayfield Heights company had succeeded, Schulman would have about doubled in size.

“We are also open to transformational acquisitions,” Gingo said. “We will remain aggressive in pursuing this strategy as well as the many opportunities we are seeing globally for … acquisitions.”

Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or

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