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Sonoco sells off timberland

HARTSVILLE, S.C. (News release) -- Sonoco Products Company SON announced the sale of 55,000 acres of timberland in South Carolina on behalf of its clients to Manulife Investment Management. The transaction was completed for $72 million in cash.

Manulife Investment Management is a timberland and agricultural investment manager that manages around 6 million acres globally. It has extensive experience with sustainable transactions.

The sale will maximize the value for Sonoco's shareholders.

Sonoco delivered adjusted earnings per share of $1.27 in the fourth quarter of 2022, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.26. The figure was within the company's guidance of $1.20-$1.30. The bottom line improved 28% from the prior-year quarter, driven by strong strategic pricing performance across most of its businesses.

Net sales were $1,676 million, which jumped 16.5% year over year, courtesy of strong pricing performance and sustained robust results from the Metal Packaging acquisition. However, the negative impacts of foreign currency translation and lower industrial volumes somewhat negated the gains.

On Mar 21, 2022, the company announced that it raised its first-quarter 2023 earnings guidance on higher demand. It expects adjusted earnings per share of $1.30-$1.40 for the first quarter of 2023. The new range has moved up from the company's previously disclosed range of $1.15-$1.25. Operating cash flow for the year is expected between $925 million and $975 million, and free cash flow is projected between $550 million and $650 million.

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