Sensient earnings improve despite revenue decline

Firm ends full year with top and bottom line gains

Sensient headquarters
The Sensient Technologies headquarters is in the U.S. Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee.

Milwaukee-based Sensient Technologies Corp. reported improving earnings but a drop in revenue during the fourth quarter and ended the year with both top and bottom line gains.

Sensient headquarters
The Sensient Technologies headquarters is in the U.S. Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee.

The maker of colors, flavors and fragrances reported net income of $31.4 million during the fourth quarter, an increase of 63.1 percent. Earnings improved from 43 to 70 cents per diluted share. Those results came despite a 2.6 percent drop in revenue to $330.2 million.

The fourth quarter revenue decline was the result of a 7 percent drop in sales for the flavors and fragrance segment, which reported $186.9 million in revenue. Revenue for the year was down about 3 percent to $795.3 million.

The segment did improve operating income during the quarter, led by double-digit profit growth in the natural ingredients, North America savory, Europe beverage and bionutrients businesses.

The company’s color segment reported a 1.3 percent increase in revenue during the quarter to $119 million. For the year, the segment was up 5 percent to $502.1 million.

Sensient said the cosmetics and food colors business both performed well during the year driven by strong demand for cosmetics and natural food colors.

The Asia Pacific segment made the largest revenue gains, increasing 9.4 percent in the quarter to $32.5 million and 9 percent for the year to $127.5 million.

For the full year, Sensient reported $1.38 billion in revenue, a 0.5 percent increase. Net income, however was up 18.2 percent to $126.3 million and earnings improved from $2.31 to $2.82 per share.

“I am very pleased with the company’s performance in 2016,” said Paul Manning, Sensient chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The Color Group had an outstanding year delivering solid profit and revenue growth, led by strong performances from the Cosmetics and Food Colors businesses. The Flavors and Fragrances Group performed very well and improved its operating margin by at least 100 basis points in each of the last three quarters, and Asia Pacific also delivered solid profit and revenue growth for the year. It was a very successful year for Sensient and our shareholders, and I am optimistic about the future.”

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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