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Citi's Upgrade Propels Packaging Company with Potential 30% Rally

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Citi Upgrades Sealed Air, Anticipating Earnings Revival

Sealed Air, a packaging company, may experience an earnings revival, according to Citi. Analyst Anthony Pettinari upgraded the company from neutral to buy and assigned a $41 price target, suggesting a potential 30.5% rally from Friday's closing price. Pettinari highlighted the negative sentiment surrounding Sealed Air and the packaging industry due to share price weakness, volatility challenges, and downward earnings revisions. However, he sees the third quarter as a potential catalyst for the company's turnaround, expecting cost savings and a reiterated volume outlook to drive positive results.

Stock Performance and Market Challenges

Sealed Air's stock has faced significant declines this year, plunging approximately 37% as it navigates a lower growth environment post-Covid. In the current quarter alone, the stock has tumbled over 21% due to weakness in its end markets, resulting in a revenue shortfall and a downward revision of earnings and revenue forecasts.

Earnings Growth and Cost Savings

Citi emphasized that Sealed Air's earnings growth will be propelled by cost savings derived from its 3-year CTO2Grow program. This program is expected to generate between $140 million and $160 million in annualized cost savings by the end of 2025. While the company has a track record of successful cost-cutting measures under CEO Ted Doheny, Pettinari believes there is still room for more aggressive actions to improve the company's share price.

Investor Sentiment and Potential Measures

Despite the potential for improvement, poor investor sentiment and prolonged share price weakness may lead to calls for Sealed Air's management to take more dramatic actions. Pettinari suggests that asset sales, sharper cost-cutting measures, and exploration of mergers and acquisitions or go-private options could become louder demands from investors. In conclusion, Citi's upgrade of Sealed Air reflects optimism for the company's earnings revival. While the stock has faced significant challenges and market headwinds, the potential for cost savings and positive third-quarter results provide a glimmer of hope. However, the company's management may face increasing pressure to take more drastic measures to address investor concerns.

Implications of Sealed Air's Anticipated Earnings Revival for New Business Formation

The recent upgrade of packaging company Sealed Air by Citi, anticipating an earnings revival, provides valuable insights for new businesses.

Market Challenges and Stock Performance

Sealed Air's significant stock declines this year, primarily due to a post-Covid lower growth environment and end-market weaknesses, signal potential challenges for startups in similar sectors. These market conditions could necessitate strategic adjustments for new businesses to navigate the turbulent environment successfully.

Cost Savings and Earnings Growth

Citi's emphasis on Sealed Air's potential earnings growth, driven by cost savings from its CTO2Grow program, underscores the importance of cost management for new businesses. This strategy could be a crucial factor in ensuring profitability and sustainability, especially in a challenging market.

Investor Sentiment and Management Measures

The poor investor sentiment and share price weakness experienced by Sealed Air highlight the need for new businesses to maintain investor confidence. Pettinari's suggestion for more aggressive measures, such as asset sales, sharper cost-cutting, and exploration of mergers and acquisitions, could serve as a guide for startups facing similar challenges. In essence, Sealed Air's anticipated earnings revival and the associated market dynamics provide a roadmap for new business formation. While market challenges and investor sentiment call for caution, the potential for cost savings and earnings growth offers hope. New businesses can draw lessons from Sealed Air's experience to navigate their growth journey effectively.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/25/citi-upgrades-this-packaging-company-that-can-rally-more-than-30percent-.html
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