AptarGroup Inc. (NYSE:ATR) announced better-than-expected first-quarter 2018 results on Thursday after the market closed, including growth in each of its core business segments.

Let's take a closer look at what the dispensing systems company accomplished over the past few months, and what investors should be watching going forward.

Various AptarGroup products

Image source: AptarGroup.

AptarGroup results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q1 2018

Q1 2017

Year-Over-Year Growth

Revenue

$703.4 million

$601.3 million

17%

GAAP net income

$59.3 million

$51.8 million

14.4%

GAAP earnings per diluted share

$0.92

$0.81

13.6%

Data source: AptarGroup. GAAP = generally accepted accounting principles. 

What happened with AptarGroup this quarter?

  • Core sales grew 10% on a currency-neutral basis.
  • On a non-GAAP basis -- which adjusts for $0.07 per share in expenses from restructuring initiatives -- AptarGroup's earnings were $0.99 per share, well above its latest guidance for adjusted earnings per share of $0.90 to $0.95.
  • By segment:
    • Beauty and home sales increased 17% as reported, including 8% core sales growth and a 9% contribution from currency effects.
    • Pharma sales grew 17% as reported, including 6% core sales growth and an 11% currency contribution.
    • Food and beverage sales grew 16% as reported, including 10% core sales growth and a 6% contribution from currencies.
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 17% to $134 million.

What management had to say

AptarGroup CEO Stephen Tanda called it a "positive start" to the year, adding:

Driven by broad-based demand for our value-adding innovative dispensing solutions, core sales grew in each business segment. Our Beauty + Home segment had another strong quarter with robust core sales growth, especially in the beauty and personal care markets. Our Pharma segment had another excellent quarter with increased demand for our leading drug delivery systems, particularly in the consumer healthcare market where the aggressive flu season helped drive demand for our nasal spray and saline systems. Our Food + Beverage segment had a mixed quarter with increased core sales to the food market and sluggish sales to the beverage market, primarily due to weak volumes in China.

Tanda also elaborated on AptarGroup's ongoing business transformation, noting efforts are still in their early stages as the company implements changes "to become a more agile, competitive, and consumer-centric business."

Looking forward

For the second quarter of 2018, AptarGroup anticipates sustained core sales growth on a year-over-year basis from each of its business segments, with currencies continuing to represent a tailwind for its reported revenue figures.

As such, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter to arrive in the range of $0.99 to $1.04, compared to $1.01 per share in the same year-ago period and roughly in line with investors' expectations.

All things considered, apart from AptarGroup's slight bottom-line outperformance (relative to guidance) to start the year, there were no significant surprises in this solid report. With shares already up around 16% over the past year and hovering near a fresh-all-time high, that may help explain why the stock made only small gains the following trading day. But I think AptarGroup shareholders should be more than pleased with where the company stands right now.