Fourth quarter sales at Newell Brands were down as the company pinned much of the decrease on the negative impact of divestitures over the past year.
For the three months ended December 31, net sales were $3.7 billion, down 9.5% year-over-year. Core sales were down 1.9%. Normalized diluted earnings per share (EPS) were $0.68 compared with $0.80 from the prior year. Company officials said the dip in EPS was the result of divested businesses, lower core sales volume, negative pricing, commodity cost inflation and higher share count.
“Our fourth quarter results were in-line with those we announced earlier. We had a particularly good outcome on cash flow but work to do on our other metrics,” said Michael Polk, CEO of Newell Brands. “The entire board and management team recognize what needs to be done and we have taken decisive action to deliver the results and value our shareholders expect.”
In the company’s Live segment, which includes appliances, core sales declined 1.8% as growth in home fragrance and fresh preserving was offset by declines in the appliances and baby segments.
Net sales for the full year ended December 31 were $14.7 billion, up 11.1% from the prior year. Core sales increased 0.8%. Normalized diluted earnings per share were $2.75 compared with $2.89 in the prior year.
The quarterly and yearly financial reports come a week after reports that former Jarden CEO Martin Franklin and two other former Jarden executives joined forces with hedge fund Starboard Value LP in an effort to replace Polk and Newell’s board of directors.
Newell Brands previously issued a press release confirming that the company has received notice from Starboard Value and Opportunity Master Fund Ltd. of its intention to nominate 10 candidates to stand for election to Newell’s Brands’ board of directors at the company’s 2018 annual shareholders meeting.