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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
Or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from           to          
Commission file number 1-12139
see-20211231_g1.jpg
SEALED AIR CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 65-0654331
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
2415 Cascade Pointe Boulevard 
CharlotteNorth Carolina28208
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (980)-221-3235
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value $0.10 per shareSEENew York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes     No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.    Yes  ☐    No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large Accelerated Filer   Accelerated filer Emerging growth company
    
Non-accelerated filer   Smaller reporting company 
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C.7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  
As of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, June 30, 2021, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $8,852,200,805, based on the closing sale price as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.
There were 148,158,143 shares of the registrant’s common stock, par value $0.10 per share, issued and outstanding as of February 15, 2022.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for its 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.
 



SEALED AIR CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
Table of Contents
 
PART I
Item 1. 
Item 1A. 
Item 1B. 
Item 2. 
Item 3. 
Item 4. 
  
PART II
Item 5. 
Item 6. 
Item 7. 
Item 7A. 
Item 8. 
Item 9. 
Item 9A. 
Item 9B. 
Item 9C.
   
PART III   
Item 10. 
Item 11. 
Item 12. 
Item 13. 
Item 14. 
   
PART IV
Item 15. 
Item 16.
  
 144

1


Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This report contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 concerning our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) encourages companies to disclose forward-looking statements so that investors can better understand a company’s future prospects and make informed investment decisions. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by such words as “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “assume,” “could,” “should,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “potential,” “seek,” “predict,” “may,” “will” and similar references to future periods. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this report regarding our strategies, prospects, financial condition, operations, costs, plans and objectives are forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make regarding expected future operating results, expectations regarding the results of restructuring and other programs, anticipated levels of capital expenditures and expectations of the effect on our financial condition of claims, litigation, environmental costs, contingent liabilities and governmental and regulatory investigations and proceedings.
Please refer to Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” for important factors that we believe could cause actual results to differ materially from those in our forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this report is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
The following are important factors that we believe could cause actual results to differ materially from those in our forward-looking statements: global economic and political conditions, currency translation and devaluation effects, changes in raw material pricing and availability, competitive conditions, the success of new product offerings, consumer preferences, the effects of animal and food-related health issues, the effects of epidemics or pandemics, including the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), changes in energy costs, environmental matters, the success of our restructuring activities, the success of our merger, acquisition and equity investment strategies, the success of our financial growth, profitability, cash generation and manufacturing strategies and our cost reduction and productivity efforts, changes in our credit ratings, the tax benefit associated with the Settlement agreement (as defined in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors”), regulatory actions and legal matters, and the other information referenced in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors.” Any forward-looking statement made by us in this report is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
2


PART I
Item 1. Business
The Company: SEE
Our PurposeWe are in business to protect,
to solve critical packaging challenges, and
to make our world better than we find it.
Sealed Air Corporation (“SEE”, “Sealed Air”, or the “Company”, also referred to as “we”, “us”, or “our”) is a leading global provider of packaging solutions integrating high-performance materials, automation, equipment and services. SEE designs and delivers packaging solutions that preserve food, protect goods, automate packaging processes, and enable e-commerce and digital connectivity for packaged goods. Our packaging solutions are designed to help customers automate their operations to be increasingly touchless and more resilient, safer, less wasteful, and enhance brand engagement with consumers.
We deliver our packaging solutions to an array of end markets including fresh proteins, foods, fluids, medical and healthcare, e-commerce, logistics and omnichannel fulfillment operations, and industrials. We serve customers across 114 countries/territories directly and through a diversified distribution network. We aim to deliver savings to our customers and accelerate payback on their investments. We invest in technology and innovation that transform our industry toward a more sustainable future.
Our portfolio of solutions includes leading brands such as CRYOVAC® brand food packaging, SEALED AIR® brand protective packaging, AUTOBAG® brand automated packaging, BUBBLE WRAP® brand packaging and SEE Automation™ solutions.
In 2021, we generated net sales of $5.5 billion, net earnings from continuing operations of $491 million, and net cash provided by operating activities of $710 million. Please refer to Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for financial information about the Company and its subsidiaries, which is incorporated herein by reference.
We have two reportable segments, Food and Protective. Refer to “Reportable Segments” below for additional information.
Vision and Strategy
Our VisionTo become a world-class, digitally-driven company automating sustainable packaging solutions
Our strategy is focused on creating an inimitable customer packaging experience by advancing packaging solutions integrating SEE Automation, Digital, and Sustainability.
SEE caring high-performance people + digital culture. We are bringing people together with a future that is more digitally connected. We prioritize our people and recognize the importance they play in realizing our purpose. Through digital platforms, we are accelerating our efforts to retain, attract and motivate top talent, train our leadership teams, develop future leaders, shape a caring, high-performance organization and culture, and drive top benchmark employee engagement.
Creating SEE Touchless Automation™ experience. With our SEE Automation™ solutions, we aim to solve our customers’ automation needs while creating significant return on their investments through savings and increased productivity. We have focused on increasing our equipment offerings which help our customers automate packaging processes. In addition, through our SEE Operating Engine, we are automating our own operations to make them more sustainable and generate productivity savings.
Lead the industry with Digital transformation. We have launched the MySEE digital e-commerce platform to make doing business with SEE easier and more efficient. We are investing in automation and digital technologies that enhance performance, efficiency and monitoring in customers’ and our own operations. We are developing smart packaging that can enable traceability and deliver digital content. We are investing in digital printing to drive customer savings, generate demand and enhance brand image and shelf impact.
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Sustainability is core to our business. Sustainability is embedded in our purpose and vision. We have set ambitious environmental goals aimed to lead the industry towards a better future. We are designing high-performance packaging materials with recyclability in mind, to make sustainability more affordable, and to create a pathway for a circular economy. We are transforming our operations and our customers’ operations with SEE Touchless Automation which aims to improve efficiency, eliminate waste, simplify processes, and create a safer working environment.
Purpose driven capital allocation to create value to our shareholders and society. Our capital allocation strategy fuels the SEE Operating Engine and is rooted in economic value add with the goal to drive profitable, above market organic growth, and attractive returns on invested capital. We invest through capital expenditures, research and development spend, acquisitions, and investments aligned with our strategy. SEE Ventures is embedded in our capital allocation strategy. Under SEE Ventures, we invest in entrepreneurial and disruptive technologies that present opportunities to accelerate innovation and increase speed to market. Dividends and share repurchases have been used to return capital to shareholders.
Continuously Reinventing SEE Operating Engine from Innovate to Solve
Since launching our Reinvent SEE business transformation in 2018, we have sought to transform how we innovate, buy, make and solve our customers’ most critical packaging challenges. The capabilities, operational disciplines, and governance processes established through the Reinvent SEE business transformation are embedded in our on-going continuous improvement system, SEE Operating Engine, and demonstrating sustained results. Our Reinvent SEE goal-oriented behaviors are focused on the 4P'SSM:
Performance: World-class
Outperform the markets we serve with our SEE Operating Engine; create customer references by offering the best service and being “at the table and online” with our customers; execute a purpose-driven capital allocation mindset.
People + Digital: SEE caring high-performance culture
Leveraging the power of operating as One SEE, driving productivity, swarming challenges and opportunities; creating a digital connection between people and the customer experience both internally and externally; rewarding value creation, executing talent strategies to develop, retain and attract top talent; focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) leadership and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) excellence.
Platforms: Best Solutions, right price, make them sustainable
Focus on leading solutions that generate customer savings; SEE Touchless Automation™ - doing more with less by investing and working smarter; aiming to create significant customer savings.
Processes: SEE Operating Engine
Embed SEE Operating Engine into everything we do thereby eliminating waste, automating and simplifying processes, and removing people from harm’s way.
Sustainability: Make our world better than we find it
Drive environmental, social, and governance excellence by focusing on achieving goals that aim to make our world better than we find it. SEE is dedicating innovation, research and development resources to design or advance packaging materials to be recyclable or reusable and contain more recycled and or renewable content and has announced a goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions within our operations by 2040.
The Reinvent SEE business transformation has driven significant structural operating leverage in the business and resulted in incremental Adjusted EBITDA benefits of $64 million during 2021. The restructuring and associated cost component of the Reinvent SEE business transformation is now expected to conclude by mid-2022.
Refer to Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for a reconciliation of net earnings from continuing operations based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”) to total company Adjusted EBITDA presented on a basis which does not conform to U.S. GAAP, which we refer to as “non-U.S. GAAP.”
Competitive Strengths
Our growth strategy leverages our competitive strengths in high-performance packaging solutions, well-established customer relationships, iconic brands, and global scale and market access.
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High-performance Packaging Solutions. For food industries we provide packaging materials, automated equipment, and services that extend shelf life, ensure safety, and enhance brand image and shelf impact, while driving operational excellence by eliminating waste, increasing processing speeds and reducing customers’ labor dependency. Within e-commerce and industrial markets, we offer a broad range of protective packaging materials and automation solutions that prevent product damage, increase order fulfillment velocity, and generate savings through reductions in waste, dimensional weight and labor.
Well-established Customer Relationships. We have a broad and diversified customer base which includes the world’s leading food processors, e-commerce/fulfillment companies and industrial manufacturers. We look to create long-term relationships with leaders in the markets we serve. We leverage extensive knowledge of our customers’ businesses when innovating new solutions, and partner with customers to effectively implement our solutions and automate their operations. Our customer base is diverse, with no single customer or affiliated group of customers representing more than 10% of net sales in 2021, 2020 or 2019.
Iconic Brands. Our portfolio of leading packaging solutions includes CRYOVAC® brand food packaging, SEALED AIR® brand protective packaging, AUTOBAG® brand automated systems, BUBBLE WRAP® brand packaging, and SEE Automation™ solutions. Our iconic brands represent long-tenured leadership in the packaging industry and are propelling us forward into the future. We strive to ensure these brands continue to represent our commitment to deliver safety, security, performance and innovation.
Global Scale and Market Access. SEE serves a diverse global customer base with a sales and distribution network reaching 114 countries/territories. In 2021, 47% of net sales were from outside the U.S. Our global scale and agility have enabled us to address the evolving customer needs across our end markets and geographies and position us to capitalize on growth opportunities in markets around the world. We operate through our subsidiaries and have a presence in the U.S. and 45 other countries/territories listed below.
ArgentinaCzech RepublicIrelandPeruSweden
AustraliaDenmarkItalyPhilippinesSwitzerland
BelgiumFinlandJapanPolandTaiwan
BrazilFranceLuxembourgPortugalThailand
CanadaGermanyMalaysiaRussiaUkraine
ChileGreeceMexicoSingaporeUnited Arab Emirates
ChinaGuatemalaNetherlandsSouth AfricaUnited Kingdom
ColombiaHungaryNew ZealandSouth KoreaUruguay
Costa RicaIndiaNorwaySpainVietnam
We face risks inherent in these international operations, such as currency fluctuations, supply chain disruptions, inflation and political instability. Information on currency exchange risk appears in Part II, Item 7A, “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk,” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which is incorporated herein by reference. Other risks attendant to our international operations are set forth in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which is incorporated herein by reference. Information on the impact of currency exchange on our Consolidated Financial Statements appears in Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Financial information showing net sales for the year ended December 31, 2021 and total long-lived assets by geographic region as of December 31, 2021 appears in Note 6, “Segments,” set forth in Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” which is incorporated herein by reference.
Innovation, Research and Development
Our innovation, research and development capabilities encompass a broad range of disciplines including food science, materials science, chemical, mechanical, electrical and software engineering, microbiology, digital applications development, digital printing, and packaging automation equipment design and engineering.
Our research and development activities are principally performed in:
four Packaging Solutions Development and Innovation Centers located in the U.S., Italy and Singapore;
eight Equipment Design Centers in the U.S., France, Switzerland, Italy and Singapore, targeting innovation in equipment and digital solutions; and
39 Package Design and Applications Centers for Protective located in a number of different countries.
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Our research and development expense was $100 million in 2021, $96 million in 2020 and $77 million in 2019. In addition to our direct spend, we also, from time to time, seek to expand our research and development capabilities through acquisitions and strategic equity or other investments made through SEE Ventures.
We own or are the licensee of approximately 2,875 U.S. and foreign patents and patent applications, and approximately 2,480 U.S. and foreign trademark registrations and trademark applications that relate to many of our products, manufacturing processes and equipment. We file annually an average of approximately 270 U.S. and foreign patent applications and approximately 30 U.S. and foreign trademark applications. Our business is not dependent upon any single patent or trademark alone. Rather, we believe that our success depends primarily on our sales and service, marketing, engineering and manufacturing skills and on our ongoing innovation and research and development efforts. We believe that the expiration or unenforceability of any single one of our patents, applications, licenses or trademark registrations would not be material to our business or our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Environmental Sustainability
At SEE, environmental sustainability is integrated in our business strategy. Our priorities and commitments represent what we believe is important to creating a future that is more sustainable.
Accelerating the advancement of a circular economy. We are working to achieve our 2025 Sustainability and Materials Pledge aimed to increase materials circularity in the industry through innovation, reducing plastic and other materials waste and collaborating for change. The three components of our 2025 Sustainability and Materials Pledge are:
Invest in Innovation - Dedicating innovation, research and development resources to design or advance packaging materials to be recyclable or reusable and contain more recycled and or renewable content.
Reduce Plastic and Other Materials Waste - Achieving ambitious targets of recycled content across all packaging solutions which maximize recycled content. Specifically, the Company has a commitment to eliminate waste by incorporating a greater percentage of recycled or renewable content into our solutions.
Collaborate for Change - Building strategic partnerships, combining talent, resources and experience to scale solutions that drive a circular economy. This includes technology investments to facilitate the reuse, collection and recycling of plastic. To that end, SEE is a member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and an active participant in the American Chemistry Council.
Mitigating climate change. The Company has announced goals designed to mitigate climate change including Science Based Targets, in line with the Science Based Targets initiative ("SBTi"), for our Scopes 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas intensity reductions, and a goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions within our operations by 2040.
We are in the process of developing long-term expenditure forecasts to meet our goals. Meeting our net-zero carbon emissions pledge will require significant capital investment in our operations. We also may invest in renewable energy credits, carbon offsets, or similar programs to aid in reaching our goals, the cost of which were not material in the year ended December 31, 2021, but may be so in future years.
Driving SEE Operational Excellence in our own operations. We focus on reducing climate-related emissions, water use, energy use, and waste in our operations and throughout the supply chain while innovating, manufacturing and delivering high-performance packaging solutions.
Our Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) strategy is overseen and directed by a steering committee which is comprised of executive officers of SEE. They meet on a regular basis. At the Board of Directors level, the Board's Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee assists the Board in overseeing our sustainability strategies and other material matters concerning environmental, social and governance and public policy issues affecting the Company.
We face risks inherent in achieving our sustainability goals, such as the cost for each initiative, changes in future regulations and policies that may be more restrictive than our stated goals, and the availability of resources (such as renewable energy credits, renewable energy sources, carbon offsets), among others. Other risks attendant to the environment and climate change are set forth in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which is incorporated herein by reference.
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Human Capital
Overview
We are bringing people together with a future that is more digitally connected. We prioritize our people and the experience they have being part of SEE as we recognize the importance they play in realizing our purpose, shaping a caring, high-performance organization and culture, and delivering world-class experiences and opportunities for our customers and other stakeholders.
Our purpose-driven high-performance culture is focused on driving operational excellence. We seek to create an employee community comprised of people with desired expertise and talent from diverse backgrounds, and who care about making the world better. We believe improving our workplace diversity and supporting an inclusive culture will make us better. We invest in the total well-being and experience of our people through a variety of initiatives such as our Flexible Way of Work offering, and we strive to help our employees live better, stay healthy, and be more productive.
SEE's management regularly reports and discusses our workforce and people management strategies and related matters with our Board of Directors and the Organization and Compensation Committee (“O&C Committee”) of the Board of Directors, including matters related to compensation, succession planning, corporate culture, employee engagement, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Our values represent the fundamental beliefs upon which we aim to base our business and behaviors.
Our Core Values
IntegrityDeterminedCollaborativeInnovative
Every day, we intentionally choose to do the right thing no matter the circumstance.We are empowered to deliver on our commitments.
We operate based on mutual trust and encourage diverse thinking to achieve a common objective.
We think without limits to solve customer, company and societal challenges.
As of December 31, 2021, our employee population was approximately 16,500 people. The largest component of SEE's workforce is approximately 10,300 direct manufacturing employees in our manufacturing facilities. We also generally employ:
marketing, sales, business development and technical packaging solutions professionals who work in the field and at our customers' facilities;
innovation, research and development, digital, automation and sustainability focused employees who work in one of our four comprehensive packaging solutions development and innovation centers; and
customer service and support personnel as well as administrative and management employees who work in our offices and in remote environments.
As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately 7,000 employees in the U.S. and approximately 9,500 employees outside the U.S. Our workforce is relatively stable and does not have significant seasonal fluctuations.
We had approximately 120 U.S. employees and 4,925 non-U.S. employees who were covered by collective bargaining agreements as of December 31, 2021. Many of the covered employees are represented by works councils or industrial boards, as is customary in the jurisdictions in which they are employed. The collective bargaining agreements covering approximately 56% of such employees, primarily outside the U.S., will expire during 2022 and we will be engaged in negotiations to attain new agreements.
Code of Conduct, Ethics and Core Competencies
The Company maintains a written Code of Conduct which reflects our purpose and values as an organization and how we should act. It encourages all employees to promote an ethical culture and to recognize and report integrity and compliance issues. Our Code of Conduct guides us in how to manage our daily processes and interactions with professionalism, respect and integrity. Employees attest annually to reviewing and adhering to the Code of Conduct.
Employees receive regular online education as part of enhanced global ethics and compliance programs. This training includes required and monitored course training for employees in specific roles based on associated risk and function. Required sessions include the Code of Conduct, anti-bribery, anti-corruption, conflicts of interest, and workplace respect, among other legal and compliance subject matters.
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SEE Culture
In 2021, the Company created the Culture Council to assist in leading our culture transformation. The Culture Council is focused on executing six workstreams designed to further embed our high-performance culture throughout our organization.
The workstreams are:
Community Impact: responsible for establishing a framework and resources to encourage active involvement in global philanthropic efforts, to empower local community engagement and to scale social impact in our communities.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: helps to promote a diverse, equitable, trusting and inclusive culture for all employees.
SEE Academy: helps to nurture a learning culture that thrives on personal growth and development, strengthening our capabilities to deliver world-class results.
SEE Operating Engine: capturing our transformation success into a breakthrough operating engine that continues to reinvent our business from within.
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Operational Excellence: seeks to embed an intentional mindset where every employee continually pursues opportunities to improve our 4P’SSM behaviors.
Total Wellbeing and Experience: responsible for strengthening our people through total wellbeing, physical and mental health, social, career, financial and community impact.
Our workstreams are supported by Change Champions who comprise a working group made up of global change agents to help drive our culture and provide feedback for areas of improvement.
Health and Safety
As a company with manufacturing operations across the world, protecting the health, safety and well-being of our people is a top priority. We have a goal of zero harm and we intentionally manage our operations to provide employees with a safe and healthy working environment.
SEE maintains an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) policy which outlines the Company’s commitment to integrate EHS principles in all aspects of the business including products, operations, and supply chain. The policy requires our employees and contractors to conduct business in accordance with applicable environmental, health and safety laws and understand and comply with company procedures and guidelines to protect the environment, health and safety of themselves and their co-workers.
We have a formal process in place for managing, tracking, and reporting health and safety which includes incident analysis meetings which are conducted with leadership. Reporting is elevated to the regional leadership and global executive level monthly.
Our global safety training program includes more than 150 preventive courses including behavioral-based safety training, hazard identification, and risk assessment. Additionally, we provide access to multiple customized trainings that educate employees on the safe execution of their jobs in an environmentally responsible manner.
All operations are required to implement the relevant elements of our EHS Management System. Implementation of EHS standards and guidelines takes place at the plant/office level and is assessed through a periodic review process.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, SEE has followed the recommendations and guidance of health authorities and local governments across the globe and instituted precautionary measures for employees at all its facilities worldwide, including enhanced cleaning procedures, quarantine and testing protocols, temperature checks, face masks, engineered social distancing, remote work arrangements for non-location-dependent employees, restricted visitor access, and travel limitations.
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The Company held vaccine clinics and provided other means of vaccine access to employees and their families at many of its sites across the globe. The vaccine clinic held at SEE’s North Carolina headquarters was open to the public as well as employees.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We are a global company with an employee population representing a broad diversity of cultures, languages, ethnicities, and races. We recognize the value of workplace diversity and support an inclusive culture across the globe. We evaluate talent acquisition, performance management, employee experience, career development, and succession planning processes to identify and remove unintended biases and facilitate increased diversity of our leadership talent pipeline. In 2021, we announced our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Pledge and 2025 Goals, encompassing the following:
Championing equal pay for work of equal value across our organization;
Leading with a senior leadership team that reflects the cultural diversity of our global footprint;
Increasing gender diversity across employees globally to more than 30%;
Increasing the representation of racial and ethnic minorities in our United States workforce to above 35%; and
Building a more inclusive culture with our employees across the globe.
As of December 31, 2021, 25% of our global employee base are female and 34% of our U.S. workforce belong to racial and ethnic minority groups. Biannually, SEE conducts a global comprehensive pay equity analysis to identify compensation disparities by gender across the world and by ethnic and racial diversity within the U.S. Identified inequities are mitigated to close the gaps and compensation processes are evaluated for unintended bias and continuously improved to prevent future adverse impact.
Recruiting, Retaining and Engaging Employees and Learning and Development
We believe that our success depends on our ability to attract, recruit, and retain employees with the desired expertise and talent.
SEE has a strong global talent acquisition model that attracts and places employees. From time to time, we conduct pulse surveys to solicit valuable and timely feedback from our employees on specific topics. We use the results of the pulse surveys for initiatives related to employee engagement including increased communication from managers or leaders, targeted training opportunities or other methods to improve our employees' career experiences.
We are making significant investments to strengthen the skills, capabilities, and leadership potential of our employees. Employees have access to online tools to support ongoing learning and development and career growth. Additionally, the Company sponsors leadership programs targeted at employees of all levels from early-career entrants to executives.
Reportable Segments
We report our segment information in accordance with the provisions of Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 280, “Segment Reporting,” (“FASB ASC Topic 280”). See Note 6, “Segments,” set forth in Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for further information.
Food
Food solutions are sold to food processors in fresh red meat, smoked and processed meats, poultry, seafood, plant-based and dairy (solid and liquids) markets worldwide. Food offers integrated packaging solutions combining high-performance materials and automated equipment solutions to increase food safety, extend shelf life, reduce food waste, automate processes and optimize total cost. Its innovative materials, automated equipment and service enables customers to reduce costs and enhance their brands in the marketplace.
Food solutions are utilized by food service businesses (such as restaurants and entertainment venues) (“food service”) and food retailers (such as grocery stores and supermarkets) (“food retail”), among others. Solutions serving the food service market include products such as barrier bags and pouches, primarily marketed under the CRYOVAC® trademark and other highly recognized trade names including CRYOVAC® brand Barrier Bags, CRYOVAC® brand Form-Fill-Seal Films, and CRYOVAC® brand Auto Pouch Systems. Solutions serving the food retail market include products such as barrier bags, film, and trays, primarily marketed under the CRYOVAC® trademark and other highly recognized trade names including CRYOVAC® brand Grip & Tear™, CRYOVAC® brand Darfresh®, OptiDure™, Simple Steps®, and CRYOVAC® brand Barrier Bags.
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Food solutions are well aligned to capitalize on global market dynamics driven by increasing labor scarcity and automation, continued urbanization, growth in ship-to-home food services, growing consumer preference for smaller portions and healthier food choices, and demand for more sustainable, secure packaging. Our solutions, which include high-performance materials, equipment, and services, are designed to preserve nutrition while enhancing food safety.
Food applications are largely sold direct to customers by our sales, marketing and customer service personnel throughout the world. Sales to governments, or government contracts, are not material to our Food segment. No single customer or affiliated group of customers represents more than 10% of segment revenue in 2021.
There are other manufacturers of products similar to those produced by Food, some that operate across multiple regions and others that operate in a single region or single country. Competing manufacturers produce a wide variety of food packaging based on plastic, metals and other materials.
Protective
Protective packaging solutions are utilized across many global markets to protect goods during transit and are especially valuable to e-commerce, consumer goods, pharmaceutical and medical devices and industrial manufacturing. With automated equipment, high-performance materials, and services, our solutions are designed to increase our customers' packaging velocity, minimize packaging waste, reduce labor dependencies and address dimensional weight challenges. Our product breadth combined with our global scale and reach helps support our customers' needs for sustainability, performance excellence, consistency and reliability of supply wherever they operate around the world.
Protective solutions are marketed under SEALED AIR® brand, BUBBLE WRAP® brand, AUTOBAG® brand and other highly recognized trade names and product families including BUBBLE WRAP® brand inflatable packaging, SEALED AIR® brand performance shrink films, AUTOBAG® brand bagging systems, Instapak® polyurethane foam packaging solutions and Korrvu® suspension and retention packaging. In addition, we provide temperature assurance packaging solutions under the Kevothermal™ and TempGuard™ brands.
Protective solutions are sold through a strategic network of distributors as well as directly to end customers, including, but not limited to, fabricators, original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers, logistics partners and e-commerce/fulfillment operations. In 2021, approximately 55% of our Protective sales were sold through distributors. We generally do not impose annual minimum purchase volume requirements on our distributors. Product returns from our distributors in 2021 were not material. Sales to governments, or government contracts, are not material to our Protective segment. No single customer or affiliated group of customers represented more than 10% of segment revenue in 2021.
There are other manufacturers of products similar to those produced by Protective. Additionally, there are products made using alternative packaging materials that customers use to provide protection against damage to their products during shipment and storage. Among the competitive materials are paper packaging, expanded plastics, corrugated die cuts, strapping, envelopes, reinforced bags, and corrugated boxes as well as various types of molded foam plastics, fabricated foam plastics, mechanical shock mounts, wood blocking and bracing systems, and an assortment of automated packaging and fulfillment systems. We believe that some of our direct competition within the protective packaging industry has a less diversified global presence.
We believe that a focus on materials circularity, sustainability, and automation and equipment offerings will continue to define the direction of the competitive landscape into the future for both segments. Additionally, some of our Food and Protective competitors have been consolidating in recent years or have been involved in significant merger and acquisition activity, and we believe this trend may continue. Such consolidation could have an adverse impact on the pricing of our products and services and our ability to retain customers, which could in turn adversely affect our business, consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
Raw Materials and Purchasing
Suppliers provide raw materials, packaging components, contract manufactured goods, equipment and other direct materials, such as inks, films and paper. Our principal raw materials are polyolefin and other petrochemical-based resins, as well as paper pulp products. Raw materials typically represent approximately one-third of our consolidated cost of sales. We also purchase corrugated materials, cores for rolls of products such as films and Bubble Wrap® brand cushioning, inks for printed materials, and blowing agents used in the expansion of foam packaging products. In addition, we offer a wide variety of specialized packaging equipment, some of which we manufacture or have manufactured to our specifications, some of which we assemble and some of which we purchase from suppliers. Automated equipment and accessories are designed for e-commerce fulfillment centers, industrial and food packaging equipment.
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The vast majority of the raw materials required for the manufacture of our products and all components related to our equipment and accessories generally have been readily available on the open market and, in most cases, are available from several suppliers and are available in amounts sufficient to meet our manufacturing requirements. However, in some regions we rely on some sole-source suppliers, and the lack of availability of supplies could have a material negative impact on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes or other severe weather events, as well as political instability and terrorist activities, may negatively impact the production or delivery capabilities of refineries and natural gas and petrochemical suppliers and suppliers of other raw materials. Due to by-product/co-product chemical relationships to the automotive and housing markets, several materials may become difficult to source. These factors could lead to increased prices for our raw materials, curtailment of supplies, allocation of raw materials and other force majeure events by our suppliers. For example, throughout 2021, the Company experienced supply chain disruptions and sharp raw material price increases resulting from various factors including general inflationary pressure, limited availability of certain raw materials, global transportation disruptions and natural disasters such as Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. Refer to Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for additional discussion of the impact of 2021 supply chain disruptions and raw material price increases.
Some materials used to manufacture our packaging products are sourced from recycled content from our operations or are obtained through our participation in recycling programs. Although we purchase some raw materials under long-term supply arrangements with third parties, these arrangements follow market forces and are in line with our overall global purchasing strategy, which seeks to balance the cost of acquisition and availability of supply.
We have a centralized supply chain organization, which includes centralized management of purchasing and logistic activities. Our objective is to leverage our global scale to achieve purchasing efficiencies and reduce our total delivered cost across all our regions. We do this while adhering to strategic performance metrics and stringent purchasing practices.
Seasonality
On a consolidated basis, there is minimal seasonality in the business, with net sales slightly lower in the first quarter and slightly higher towards the end of the third quarter through the fourth quarter. Our consolidated results of operations typically trend directionally the same as our net sales seasonality. Historically, net sales in our Food segment have tended to be slightly lower in the first quarter and slightly higher towards the end of the third quarter through the fourth quarter, due to holiday events. Net sales in our Protective segment have also tended to be slightly lower in the first quarter and higher in the mid-third quarter and through the fourth quarter due to the holiday shopping season. However, the extent and timing of our results of operations may be difficult to predict if significant one-time transactions, events or non-recurring charges were to impact our business. Cash flow from operations has tended to be lower in the first quarter and higher in the fourth quarter, reflecting seasonality of sales and working capital changes, including the timing of certain annual incentive compensation payments.
The impact of raw material price changes and related pricing actions have impacted the timing of when our total net sales and our consolidated results of operations were earned throughout 2021. Additionally, changes in end-consumer behavior, such as an increase in e-commerce sales, or temporary social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19 or other factors, have in the past impacted the timing and seasonality of results of operations. Refer to Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for additional discussion of our 2021 results.
Compliance with Government Regulations
As a manufacturer, we are subject to various laws, rules and regulations in the countries/territories, jurisdictions and localities in which we operate. These cover, among other things, the safe storage and use of raw materials and production chemicals, the release of materials into the environment, and standards for the treatment, storage and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes. We have an environmental management system that aids in our management of environmental, health and safety matters pertaining to our operations. Key elements of this environmental management system are implemented throughout our operations. We believe that compliance with current environmental and workplace health and safety laws and regulations has not had a material effect on our capital expenditures or consolidated financial condition.
In some jurisdictions in which our packaging products are sold or used, laws and regulations have been adopted or proposed that seek to regulate, among other things, minimum levels of recycled or reprocessed content and, more generally, the sale or disposal of packaging materials. We maintain programs designed to comply with these laws and regulations and to monitor their evolution. Various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations regulate some of our products and require us to register certain products and comply with specified requirements. We are also subject to various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations that regulate products manufactured and sold by us for controlling microbial growth on humans, animals and processed foods. In the U.S., these requirements are generally administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). To date, the cost of complying with product registration requirements and FDA compliance, and similar non-U.S.
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laws, has not had a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations which ensure safe working conditions for our employees. In the U.S., these requirements are generally administered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). To date, the cost of complying with worker safety requirements and OSHA compliance, and similar non-U.S. laws, has not had a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Our emphasis on environmental, health and safety compliance provides us with risk reduction opportunities and cost savings through asset protection and protection of employees. We have policies in place which guide the Company in environmental, health and safety matters including training, materials conservation, communications, targets and transparency.
Additionally, some of SEE's materials or products will be subject to a tax on certain plastics or plastic components, which are currently scheduled to go into effect in 2022 in jurisdictions such as the United States and the United Kingdom. There is no guarantee that we will be able to recover the impact of plastic taxes from our customers. The cost to establish compliance with these evolving tax on plastics or plastics components were not material in 2021.
We maintain programs to comply with the various laws, rules and regulations related to the protection of the environment that we may be subject to in the many countries/territories in which we operate. See Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” under the caption “Environmental Matters.”
Available Information
Our Internet address is www.sealedair.com. We make available, free of charge, on or through our website, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports that we file or furnish pursuant to Sections 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file these materials with, or furnish them to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains these filings and they can be accessed via the Internet address https://www.sec.gov. The information contained on, or that may be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this Form 10-K.
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Item 1A. Risk Factors
Introduction
The risks described below should be carefully considered before making an investment decision. These are the most significant risk factors, but they are not the only risk factors that should be considered in making an investment decision. This Form 10-K also contains and may incorporate by reference forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. See the “Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” immediately preceding Part I, of this Form 10-K. Our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks. The trading price of our securities could decline due to any of these risks, and investors in our securities may lose all or part of their investment.
Strategic Risks
The COVID-19 pandemic could adversely impact the health and safety of our employees, our business continuity, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
The COVID-19 pandemic, including the outbreak of variants such as Delta and Omicron, and the related containment and mitigation measures that have been put into place across the globe, have had and may continue to have adverse impact on the global economy and our business. We and some of our customers have experienced facility shutdowns or reductions in operations during the pandemic. The outbreak of recent variants has also adversely impacted the staffing level in our operations. The COVID-19 pandemic has and may continue to result in supply chain and operational disruptions such as the availability and transportation of raw materials or the ability for our packaging and equipment specialists to visit customer facilities. Unpredictable disruptions to the Company’s operations or our customers’ operations could reduce our future revenues and negatively impact the Company’s financial condition.
In addition, economic and market volatility due to the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact consumer buying habits, which could adversely affect the Company’s financial results.
The extent to which our operations may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the future will depend largely on continued developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be accurately predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the outbreak, including new variants of the virus, and actions by government authorities to contain the outbreak or treat its impact, including the effectiveness and distribution of vaccines.
The global nature of our operations exposes us to numerous risks that could materially adversely affect our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We operate in 46 countries/territories, and our products are distributed in 114 countries/territories around the world. A large portion of our manufacturing operations are located outside of the U.S. and 47% of our net sales are generated outside of the U.S. These operations, particularly those in developing regions, are subject to various risks that may not be present in or as significant for our U.S. operations. Economic uncertainty in some of the geographic regions in which we operate, including developing regions, could result in the disruption of commerce and negatively impact cash flows from our operations in those markets.
Risks inherent in our international operations include:
inflationary pressures, including wage inflation and input cost inflation, as well as the impact of fiscal policy interventions by national or regional governments to control inflation;
foreign currency exchange controls and tax rates;
foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, including devaluations;
adverse impacts resulting from regional or global human health related illnesses;
restrictive governmental actions such as those on transfer or repatriation of funds and trade protection matters, including anti-dumping duties, tariffs, embargoes and prohibitions or restrictions on acquisitions or joint ventures;
changes in laws and regulations, including the laws and policies of the U.S. and foreign countries affecting trade and foreign investment;
the impact of customer perceptions or regulatory developments related to sustainability concerns;
the difficulty of enforcing agreements and collecting receivables through certain foreign legal systems;
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variations in protection of intellectual property and other legal rights;
more expansive legal rights of foreign unions or works councils;
changes in labor conditions and difficulties in staffing and managing international operations;
import and export delays caused, for example, by an extended strike at the port of entry, could cause a delay in our supply chain operations;
social plans that prohibit or increase the cost of certain restructuring actions;
the potential for governmental actions that may result in expropriation or nationalization of our facilities or other assets in that country;
unsettled political conditions and possible terrorist attacks against U.S. or other interests; and
potential tax inefficiencies and tax costs in repatriating funds from our non-U.S. subsidiaries.
These and other factors may have a material adverse effect on our international operations and, consequently, on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Uncertain global economic conditions may have an adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Uncertain global economic conditions, including the impact of inflationary pressure across the global economy, may have an adverse impact on our business in the form of lower volumes sold due to weakened demand, unfavorable changes in product price/mix, or lower profit margins. For example, in the past, global economic downturns have adversely impacted some of our customers and end-users, such as food processors, distributors, supermarket retailers, restaurants, industrial manufacturers, retail establishments, business service contractors and e-commerce and mail order fulfillment firms, and other end-users that are particularly sensitive to business and consumer spending. Additionally, in 2021, widespread inflationary pressures were experienced across global economies, resulting in higher costs for our raw materials, non-material cost components and labor.
During economic downturns or recessions, there can be a heightened competition for sales and increased pressure to reduce selling prices as our customers may reduce their volume of purchases from us. If we lose significant sales volume or reduce selling prices significantly, there could be a negative impact on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, profitability or cash flows.
Also, reduced availability of credit may adversely affect the ability of some of our customers and suppliers to obtain funds for operations and capital expenditures. This could negatively impact our ability to obtain necessary supplies as well as our sales of materials and equipment to affected customers. This could also result in reduced or delayed collections of outstanding accounts receivable.
We experience competition in the markets for our products and services and in the geographic areas in which we operate.
Our packaging products and equipment solution offerings compete with similar products made by other manufacturers and with a number of other types of materials or products. We compete on the basis of performance characteristics of our products, as well as service, price, sustainability and innovations in technology. A number of competing domestic and foreign companies are well-established.
Customers in the e-commerce and food service industry and peers in the packaging industry have been consolidating in recent years, and we believe this trend may continue. Such consolidation could have an adverse impact on the pricing of our products and services and our ability to retain customers, which could in turn adversely affect our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Our inability to maintain a competitive advantage could result in lower prices or lower sales volumes for our products. Additionally, we may not successfully implement our pricing actions. These factors may have an adverse impact on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Concerns about the impact that some plastic materials may have on the environment, along with changes in legal or regulatory requirements, development of recycling infrastructure, consumer preferences or market measures to address these concerns, may negatively affect our business and operations.
Public attention to plastic waste and its associated or perceived environmental impact continues to receive attention. Some jurisdictions have laws and regulations that govern the registration, labeling and taxation or surcharges of some of our products. For example, some of our products will be subject to a tax on certain plastics, which is currently scheduled to go into effect in
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2022 in the United Kingdom. Consumer perceptions, preferences and buying behaviors may change as a result of public attention to plastic waste and current and future regulations. 
Currently, single-use plastic bans and/or proposals have focused on specific items such as grocery bags, cutlery, beverage straws and stir sticks, expanded polystyrene or oxo-degradable plastic. At present, all of the products we manufacture are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, but there can be no assurances regarding future laws and regulations.
We maintain programs designed to comply with laws and regulations and to monitor their evolution. We also continue to innovate our packaging solutions to exceed recyclability or reusability requirements, address cube optimization to eliminate non-recyclable plastic waste, and increase the use of recycled and/or renewable materials. We believe that execution of our strategy positions us to exceed sustainability and recyclability demands of our customers with innovative solutions and new formulations of our materials. However, future development of government policies including taxation to restrict waste imports and/or expand bans beyond single-use plastics, as well as changes in customer preferences, may have an adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
The execution of future acquisitions or investments in other companies may be limited by the availability of suitable candidates. Additionally, we may not be able to successfully integrate acquired businesses without significant use of resources or diversion of management’s attention.
Acquisitions and non-controlling or equity investments are subject to the availability of suitable candidates or investment opportunities. Business acquisitions involve numerous risks, including difficulty in determining valuation, integration of acquired operations, technologies, services and products, key personnel turnover, and the diversion of management's attention from other business matters. Ultimately, we may be unable to achieve the expected benefits which could adversely affect our business and execution of our strategy.
As a result of acquisitions, we may record a significant amount of goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets and we may never realize the full carrying value of the related assets.
As a result of acquisitions, we may record a significant amount of goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets, including customer relationships, trademarks and developed technologies.
We test goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite useful lives for possible impairment annually during the fourth quarter of each fiscal year or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the asset might be impaired. Amortizable intangible assets are reviewed for possible impairment whenever there is evidence that events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value may not be recoverable. In the event that we determine that events or circumstances exist that indicate that the carrying value of goodwill or identifiable intangible assets may no longer be recoverable, we might have to recognize a non-cash impairment of goodwill or other identifiable intangible assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
Political and economic instability and risk of government actions affecting our business and our customers or suppliers may adversely impact our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We are exposed to risks inherent in doing business in each of the countries or territories in which we or our customers or suppliers operate including: civil unrest, acts of terrorism, sabotage, epidemics, force majeure, war or other armed conflict and related government actions, including sanctions/embargoes, the deprivation of contract rights, the inability to obtain or retain licenses required by us to operate our plants or import or export our goods or raw materials, the expropriation or nationalization of our assets, and restrictions on travel, payments or the movement of funds. Geopolitical events may have a negative impact on the global industrial macro-economic environment and could materially adversely impact our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
If we are not able to protect our trade secrets or maintain our trademarks, patents and other intellectual property, we may not be able to prevent competitors from developing similar products or from marketing their products in a manner that capitalizes on our trademarks, and this loss of a competitive advantage may adversely impact our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Our ability to compete effectively with other companies depends, in part, on our ability to maintain the proprietary nature of our owned and licensed intellectual property. If we were unable to maintain the proprietary nature of our intellectual property and our significant current or future products, the resulting loss of associated competitive advantage could lead to decreased sales or increased operating costs, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
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We rely on trade secrets to maintain our competitive position, including protecting the formulation and manufacturing techniques of many of our products. As such, we have not sought U.S. or international patent protection for some of our principal product formulas and manufacturing processes. Accordingly, we may not be able to prevent others from developing products that are similar to or competitive with our products.
We own a large number of patents and pending patent applications on our products, aspects thereof, methods of use and/or methods of manufacturing. There is a risk that our patents may not provide meaningful protection and patents may never be issued for our pending patent applications.
We own, or have licenses to use, all of the material trademark and trade name rights used in connection with the packaging, marketing and distribution of our major products both in the U.S. and in other countries/territories where our products are principally sold. Trademark and trade name protection is important to our business. Although most of our trademarks are registered in the U.S. and in the foreign countries/territories in which we operate, we may not be successful in asserting trademark or trade name protection. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries/territories may not protect our intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S. The costs required to protect our trademarks and trade names may be substantial.
We cannot be certain that we will be able to assert these intellectual property rights successfully in the future or that they will not be invalidated, circumvented or challenged. Other parties may infringe on our intellectual property rights and may thereby dilute the value of our intellectual property in the marketplace. Third parties, including competitors, may assert intellectual property infringement or invalidity claims against us that could be upheld. Intellectual property litigation, which could result in substantial cost to and diversion of effort by us, may be necessary to protect our trade secrets or proprietary technology or for us to defend against claimed infringement of the rights of others and to determine the scope and validity of others’ proprietary rights. We may not prevail in any such litigation, and if we are unsuccessful, we may not be able to obtain any necessary licenses on reasonable terms or at all.
Any failure by us to protect our trademarks and other intellectual property rights may have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Operational Risks
Raw material pricing, including how our selling prices reflect the cost of raw materials, availability and allocation by suppliers as well as energy-related costs may negatively impact our results of operations, including our profit margins.
We use petrochemical-based raw materials to manufacture many of our products. The prices for these raw materials are cyclical and increases in market demand or fluctuations in the global trade for petrochemical-based raw materials and energy could increase our costs, such as those experienced during 2021.
While historically we have been able to successfully manage the impact of higher raw material costs by increasing our selling prices, if we were unable to minimize the effects of increased raw material costs through sourcing, pricing or other actions, our business, consolidated financial condition or results of operations may be materially adversely affected. A portion of our sales prices, specifically within Food's North American and APAC business, is determined using formula based pricing which reflects changes in underlying raw material indices. On average, formula based pricing lags raw material cost movement by approximately six months. We may experience a benefit (when resin prices decrease) or detriment (when resin prices increase) to our cost of sales before those price changes are reflected in our selling prices. As such, trends in raw material pricing may have a negative impact on future profit margins. We also have some sole-source suppliers, and the lack of availability of supplies could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Natural disasters, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or other severe weather event, as well as political instability and terrorist activities, may negatively impact the production or delivery capabilities of refineries and natural gas and petrochemical suppliers and suppliers of other raw materials in the future. For example, throughout 2021, the Company experienced supply chain disruptions and sharp raw material price increases resulting, in part, from disruptions caused by Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. These factors could lead to increased prices for our raw materials, curtailment of supplies, allocation of raw materials, and other force majeure events of our suppliers and harm relations with our customers which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Unfavorable customer responses to price increases could have a material adverse impact on our sales and earnings.
From time to time, and especially in periods of rising raw material costs, we increase the prices of our products. For example, throughout 2021, the Company enacted pricing actions, which included price increases across our portfolio. Significant price increases could impact our earnings depending on, among other factors, the pricing by competitors of similar products and the
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response by the customers to higher prices. Such price increases may result in lower volume of sales and a subsequent decrease in gross margin and adversely impact our results of operations.
Demand for our products could be adversely affected by changes in consumer preferences or if we are not able to innovate and bring new products to market.
Our sales depend heavily on the volumes of sales by our customers in food processing and service industries, the industrial manufacturing and electronics sectors, and e-commerce. Consumer preferences for food and durable goods packaging can influence our sales. Consumer preferences for fresh and unpackaged foods and the global e-commerce and industrial market change over time. Changes in consumer behavior, including changes driven by cost, availability, durability, sustainability, innovation, or various health or environmental-related concerns and perceptions, could negatively impact demand for our products.
Innovation, particularly related to our automation, sustainability and digital offerings, is key to our strategy. Our performance and prospects for future growth could be adversely affected if new products do not meet sales or margin expectations and we are not able to meet our innovation rate goals. Our customers' preferences continue to trend towards sustainable and automated packaging solutions. We believe that we are well positioned to offer these solutions to our customers, but our success is dependent on continued innovation in sustainability and our ability to bring new products to market in an efficient manner.
Our competitive advantage is due in part to our ability to develop and introduce new and sustainable products in a timely manner at favorable margins. The development and introduction cycle of new products can be lengthy and involve high levels of investment. New products may not meet sales or margin expectations due to many factors, including our inability to (i) accurately predict demand, end-user preferences and evolving industry and regulatory standards; (ii) resolve technical and technological challenges in a timely and cost-effective manner; or (iii) achieve manufacturing efficiencies.
Cyber risk and the failure to maintain the integrity of our operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties with which we do business, could have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We are subject to an increasing number of information technology vulnerabilities, threats and targeted computer crimes which pose a risk to the security of our systems and networks and the confidentiality, availability and integrity of our data. Disruptions or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support our businesses and customers, or cyber attacks or security breaches of our networks or systems, or networks or systems of our customers and key vendors, could result in the loss of customers and business opportunities, legal liability, regulatory fines, penalties or intervention, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensatory costs, and additional compliance costs, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, consolidated financial condition and results of operations. To mitigate these threats to our business, we maintain a cybersecurity program aligned with industry frameworks designed to protect, detect, and respond to internal and external threats. While we have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, attacks attempting to breach the security of our network and systems, none have resulted in a breach with material impact or any penalties or settlement for the three years ended December 31, 2021.
We also maintain and have access to sensitive, confidential or personal data or information in certain of our businesses that is subject to privacy and security laws, regulations and customer controls. Despite our efforts to protect such sensitive, confidential or personal data or information, our facilities and systems and those of our customers and third-party service providers may be vulnerable to security breaches, theft, misplaced or lost data, programming and/or human errors that could lead to the compromising of sensitive, confidential or personal data or information, improper use of our systems, software solutions or networks, unauthorized access, use, disclosure, modification or destruction of information, defective products, production downtimes and operational disruptions, which in turn could adversely affect our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
The regulatory environment surrounding cybersecurity and data privacy is increasingly demanding, with new and changing regulations. We could be required to expend additional resources to comply with any such regulations, and failure to comply could subject us to significant penalties or claims.
Supply chain disruptions related to the transport of raw materials and/or finished goods may delay the timing of when we are able to manufacture our product or serve our customers, which could adversely affect our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We rely on third-party logistics suppliers for the distribution and transportation of raw materials, operating supplies and products. Delays, fluctuations in freight costs, limitations on shipping and receiving capacity, and other disruptions in the transportation and shipping infrastructure may adversely impact our ability to manufacture and distribute products. Specifically,
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many key ports around the world experienced delays and backlogs in 2021. The Company may also incur higher tariffs and duties to obtain materials from suboptimized sourcing locations. Additionally, transportation costs may increase as freight carriers raise prices to address the overall market conditions. There is no guarantee that we will be able to recover any past or future increases in transportation costs. While we have a geographically diverse international presence and are situated in close proximity to many significant customers, continued supply chain disruptions related to the transport of raw materials and/or finished goods could adversely affect our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Large-scale animal health issues as well as other health issues affecting the food industry and disruptive forces of nature, including those resulting from climate change, such as significant regional droughts, prolonged severe weather conditions, floods, and natural disasters, may lead to decreased revenues.
We manufacture and sell food packaging products, among other products. Various forces of nature affecting the food industry have in the past and may in the future have a negative effect on the sales of food packaging products. Outbreaks of animal diseases may lead governments to restrict exports and imports of potentially affected animals and food products, leading to decreased demand for our products and possibly also to the culling or slaughter of significant numbers of the animal population otherwise intended for food supply. Other disruptive forces of nature such as droughts, floods and other severe weather can lead to agricultural market disruptions resulting in reduced herd size or modifications to the traditional herd cycles which could affect supply or demand for our products. Also, consumers may change their eating habits as a result of perceived problems with certain types of food. These factors may lead to reduced sales of food packaging products, which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
A major loss of or disruption in our manufacturing and distribution operations or our information systems and telecommunication resources could adversely affect our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
If we were to experience a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or other severe weather event, a casualty loss from an event such as a fire or flood, at one of our larger strategic facilities, or experience adverse impacts, such as plant shutdowns or travel restrictions due to regional or global human health related illness or if such events were to affect a key supplier, our supply chain or our information systems and telecommunication resources, then there could be a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations. We are dependent on internal and third-party information technology networks and systems, including the Internet, to process, transmit and store electronic information. In particular, we depend on our information technology infrastructure for fulfilling and invoicing customer orders, applying cash receipts, and placing purchase orders with suppliers, making cash disbursements, and conducting digital marketing activities, data processing and electronic communications among business locations.
We also depend on telecommunication systems for communications between company personnel and our customers and suppliers. Future system disruptions, security breaches or shutdowns could significantly disrupt our operations or result in lost or misappropriated information and may have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
If we are unable to retain key employees and other personnel, our consolidated financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected or we may not be able to execute our strategies.
The execution and success of our strategy depends largely on the efforts and abilities of our management team and other key personnel. Their experience and industry contacts significantly benefit us, and we need their expertise to execute our business strategies, including our strategies related to automation, digital and sustainability. If any such employee were to cease working for us and we were unable to replace them, our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows may be materially adversely affected.
We could experience disruptions in operations and/or increased labor costs.
We depend on the skills, working relationships, and continued services of employees, including our direct manufacturing employees. The labor market in many geographic regions, including the United States, is becoming increasingly competitive. Higher turnover may lead to reductions in operational efficiencies. Additionally, in Europe and Latin America, the majority of our employees are represented by either labor unions or workers' councils and are covered by collective bargaining agreements that are generally renewable on an annual basis. As is the case with any negotiation, we may not be able to negotiate acceptable new collective bargaining agreements, which could result in strikes or work stoppages by affected workers. Renewal of collective bargaining agreements could also result in higher wages or benefits paid to union members. A shortage in the labor pool and other general inflationary pressures or changes, the results of our labor negotiations and changes to applicable laws
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and regulations could increase labor costs, or cause a disruption in operations, which could materially adversely affect our business.
Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Risks
We are the subject of various legal proceedings, and may be subject to future claims and litigation, that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or cash flows.
We are involved from time to time in various legal proceedings, including the securities class action lawsuit and the stockholder derivative action described in Part I, Item 3, “Legal Proceedings”. Litigation, in general, and securities, derivative actions and class action litigation, in particular, can be expensive and disruptive. Some of these proceedings may involve parties seeking large and/or indeterminate amounts, including punitive or exemplary damages, and may remain unresolved for several years. Litigation and other adverse legal proceedings could have a material adverse effect our businesses, operating results and/or cash flows because of reputational harm to us caused by such proceedings, the cost of defending such proceedings, the cost of settlement or judgments against us or the changes in our operations that could result from such proceedings. Although we maintain legal liability insurance coverage, potential litigation claims could be excluded or exceed coverage limits under the terms of our insurance policies or could result in increased costs for such coverage.
Our operations are subject to a variety of environmental laws that expose us to regulatory scrutiny, potential financial liability and increased operating costs.
Our operations are subject to a number of federal, state, local and foreign environmental, health and safety laws and regulations that govern, among other things, the manufacture of our products, handling, transportation, storage and disposal of hazardous materials, and the discharge of pollutants into the air, soil and water along with similar legislation aimed at addressing climate change issues.
Many jurisdictions require us to have operating permits for our production and warehouse facilities and operations. Any failure to obtain, maintain or comply with the terms of these permits could result in fines or penalties, revocation or nonrenewal of our permits, or orders to cease certain operations, and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We generate, use and dispose of hazardous materials in our manufacturing processes. In the event our operations result in the release of hazardous materials into the environment, we may become responsible for the costs associated with the investigation and remediation of sites at which we have released pollutants, or sites where we have disposed or arranged for the disposal of hazardous wastes, even if we fully complied with applicable environmental laws at the time of disposal. We have been, and may continue to be, responsible for the cost of remediation at some locations.
We are also subject to various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations that regulate products manufactured and sold by us for controlling microbial growth on humans, animals and processed foods. In the U.S., these requirements are generally administered by the FDA. We maintain programs designed to comply with these laws and regulations and to monitor their evolution. To date, the cost of complying with product registration requirements and FDA compliance has not had a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
As countries progress towards long-term environmental stewardship goals, we expect laws and tax policy to continue to advance. For example, in July 2021, the European Union announced "Fit for 55" which is a series of laws and restrictions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55%. SEE has processes in place and internal goals related to operating efficiency in matters such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage, and water consumption. There is no guarantee these internal goals will be more restrictive than future legislation in the jurisdictions in which we operate. Additionally, some of SEE's materials or products will be subject to a tax on certain plastics or plastic components, which are currently scheduled to go into effect in 2022 in jurisdictions such as the United States and the United Kingdom. There is no guarantee that we will be able to recover the impact of plastic taxes from our customers. We maintain programs designed to comply with laws and regulations and to monitor their evolution.
We cannot predict with reasonable certainty the future cost to us of environmental compliance, product registration, or environmental remediation. Environmental laws have become more stringent and complex over time. Our environmental costs and operating expenses will be subject to evolving regulatory requirements and will depend on the scope and timing of the effectiveness of requirements in these various jurisdictions. As a result of such requirements, we may be subject to an increased regulatory burden, and we expect significant future environmental compliance obligations in our operations. Increased compliance costs, increasing risks and penalties associated with violations, or our inability to market some of our products in certain jurisdictions may have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
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Product liability claims or regulatory actions could adversely affect our financial results or harm our reputation or the value of our brands.
Claims for losses or injuries purportedly caused by some of our products arise in the ordinary course of our business. In addition to the risk of substantial monetary judgments, product liability claims or regulatory actions could result in negative publicity that could harm our reputation in the marketplace or adversely impact the value of our brands or our ability to sell our products in certain jurisdictions. We could also be required to recall possibly defective products, or voluntarily do so, which could result in adverse publicity and significant expenses. Although we maintain product liability insurance coverage, potential product liability claims could be excluded or exceed coverage limits under the terms of our insurance policies or could result in increased costs for such coverage.
Future changes in global trade policies and regulations, as well as overall uncertainty surrounding international trade relations, could have a material adverse effect our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Future changes in global trade policies and regulations, including tariffs on products we import and export, could have an adverse impact on our business. Additionally, future trade policies and regulations are due in part to international relations and other geopolitical factors outside of our control. In order to mitigate the impact of these trade-related increases on our costs of products sold, we may increase prices in certain markets and, over the longer term, make changes in our supply chain and, potentially, our global manufacturing strategy. Implementing price increases may cause our customers to find alternative sources for their products. We may be unable to successfully pass along these costs through price increases; adjust our supply chain without incurring significant costs; or locate alternative suppliers for raw materials or finished goods at acceptable costs or in a timely manner. Our inability to effectively manage the negative impacts of changing U.S. and foreign trade policies could materially adversely impact our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) has indicated that it intends to disallow our deduction of the approximately $1.49 billion for the payments made pursuant to the Settlement agreement (as defined below).
In the past, we have reduced taxable income by approximately $1.49 billion for the payments made pursuant to the Settlement agreement and thus have reduced our U.S. federal tax liability by approximately $525 million. The IRS has proposed to disallow, as deductible expense, the entirety of the $1.49 billion settlement payments. Although we believe that we have meritorious defenses to the proposed disallowance and have filed a protest with the IRS, this matter may not be resolved in 2022 and there can be no assurance that it will be resolved in the Company's favor. The matter has been submitted to the IRS Independent Office of Appeals for review of the proposed disallowance. An unfavorable resolution of this matter could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition and results of operations, or cash flows.
We are subject to taxation and tax controversies in multiple jurisdictions. As a result, any adverse development in the tax laws of any of these jurisdictions or any disagreement by the tax authorities with our tax positions could have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
We are subject to taxation in, and to the tax laws and regulations of, multiple jurisdictions as a result of the international scope of our operations and our corporate and financing structure. Tax laws are dynamic and subject to change as new laws are passed and new interpretations of the law are issued or applied.
There are various jurisdictions in which we operate which are actively considering changes to existing tax laws, that, if enacted, could increase our tax obligations in countries where we do business. Additional changes in tax laws could increase our overall taxes and our business, consolidated financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected in a material way. The tax authorities in any applicable jurisdiction, including the U.S., may disagree with the positions we have taken or intend to take regarding the tax treatment or characterization of any of our transactions. If any applicable tax authorities, including U.S. tax authorities, were to successfully challenge the tax treatment or characterization of any of our transactions, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of our operations, or cash flows.
We are also subject to tax controversies in various jurisdictions that can result in assessments against us. Developments in an audit, investigation, or other tax controversy can have a material effect on our operating results or cash flows in the period or periods in which that development occurs. We regularly assess the likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from these proceedings to determine the adequacy of our tax accruals. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final outcome of audits, investigations, and any other tax controversies could be materially different from our historical accruals.
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Although the Settlement agreement (as defined below) has been implemented and we have been released from the various asbestos-related, fraudulent transfer, successor liability, and indemnification claims made against us arising from a 1998 transaction with Grace (as defined below), if the courts were to refuse to enforce the injunctions or releases contained in the Plan (as defined below) and the Settlement agreement with respect to any claims and if Grace were unwilling or unable to defend and indemnify us for such claims, then we could be required to pay substantial damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition and results of operations. We were also a defendant in a number of asbestos-related actions in Canada arising from Grace’s activities in Canada prior to the 1998 transaction.
On March 31, 1998, we completed a multi-step transaction (the “Cryovac transaction”) involving W.R. Grace & Co. (“Grace”) which brought the Cryovac packaging business and the former Sealed Air’s business under the common ownership of the Company. As part of that transaction, Grace and its subsidiaries retained all liabilities arising out of their operations before the Cryovac transaction (including asbestos-related liabilities), other than liabilities relating to Cryovac’s operations, and agreed to indemnify the Company with respect to such retained liabilities. Beginning in 2000, we were served with a number of lawsuits alleging that the Cryovac transaction was a fraudulent transfer or gave rise to successor liability or both, and that as a result we were responsible for alleged asbestos liabilities of Grace and its subsidiaries. On April 2, 2001, Grace and a number of its subsidiaries filed petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (the “Bankruptcy Court”). In connection with Grace’s Chapter 11 case, the Bankruptcy Court issued orders staying all asbestos actions against the Company (the “Preliminary Injunction”) but granted the official committees appointed to represent asbestos claimants in Grace’s Chapter 11 case (the “Committees”) permission to pursue fraudulent transfer, successor liability, and other claims against the Company and its subsidiary Cryovac, Inc. based upon the Cryovac transaction. In November 2002, we reached an agreement in principle with the Committees to resolve all current and future asbestos-related claims made against us and our affiliates, as well as indemnification claims by Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. and affiliated companies, in each case, in connection with the Cryovac transaction (as memorialized by the parties and approved by the Bankruptcy Court, the “Settlement agreement”). A definitive Settlement agreement was entered into as of November 10, 2003 consistent with the terms of the agreement in principle. On June 27, 2005, the Bankruptcy Court approved the Settlement agreement and the Settlement agreement was subsequently incorporated into the plan of reorganization for Grace filed in September 2008 (as filed and amended from time to time, the "Plan"). Subsequently, the Bankruptcy Court (in January and February 2011) and the United States District Court for the District of Delaware (in January and June 2012) entered orders confirming Grace’s plan of reorganization in its entirety.
On February 3, 2014 (the “Effective Date”), in accordance with the Plan, Grace emerged from bankruptcy. In accordance with the Plan and the Settlement agreement, on the Effective Date, Cryovac, Inc. made aggregate cash payments in the amount of $929.7 million to the WRG Asbestos PI Trust (the “PI Trust”) and the WRG Asbestos PD Trust (the “PD Trust”) and transferred 18 million shares of Sealed Air common stock to the PI Trust. Among other things, the Plan incorporated and implemented the Settlement agreement and provided for the establishment of two asbestos trusts under Section 524(g) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to which present and future asbestos-related personal injury and property damage claims are channeled. The Plan also provided injunctions and releases with respect to asbestos claims and certain other claims for our benefit. In addition, under the Plan and the Settlement agreement, Grace is required to indemnify us with respect to asbestos and certain other liabilities. Notwithstanding the foregoing, and although we believe the possibility to be remote, if any courts were to refuse to enforce the injunctions or releases contained in the Plan and the Settlement agreement with respect to any claims, and if, in addition, Grace were unwilling or unable to defend and indemnify us for such claims, then we could be required to pay substantial damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, profitability or cash flows.
Financial Risks
Fluctuations between foreign currencies and the U.S. dollar could materially impact our consolidated financial condition or results of operations.
Approximately 47% of our net sales in 2021 were generated outside the U.S. We translate sales and other results denominated in foreign currency into U.S. dollars for our Consolidated Financial Statements. As a result, the Company is exposed to currency fluctuations both in receiving cash from its international operations and in translating its financial results into U.S. dollars. During periods of a strengthening U.S. dollar, our reported international sales and net earnings could be reduced because foreign currencies may translate into fewer U.S. dollars. Foreign exchange rates can also impact the competitiveness of products produced in certain jurisdictions and exported for sale into other jurisdictions. These changes may impact the value received for the sale of our goods versus those of our competitors. The Company cannot predict the effects of exchange rate fluctuations on its future operating results. As exchange rates vary, the Company's results of operations and profitability may be adversely impacted. While we use financial instruments to hedge certain foreign currency exposures, this does not insulate us
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completely from foreign currency effects and exposes us to counterparty credit risk for non-performance. See Note 15, “Derivatives and Hedging Activities,” of the Notes. Such hedging activities may be ineffective or may not offset more than a portion of the adverse financial effect resulting from foreign currency variations. The gains or losses associated with hedging activities may negatively impact the Company's results of operations.
In all jurisdictions in which we operate, we are also subject to laws and regulations that govern foreign investment, foreign trade and currency exchange transactions. These laws and regulations may limit our ability to repatriate cash as dividends or otherwise to the U.S. and may limit our ability to convert foreign currency cash flows into U.S. dollars.
We have recognized foreign exchange losses related to the currency devaluations in Argentina and its designation as a highly inflationary economy under U.S. GAAP. See Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Recently Issued Accounting Standards,” for additional information.
Our operating results or cash flows can change materially as a result of changes in our geographic mix of U.S. and foreign earnings and other factors, including changes in tax laws and changes made by regulatory authorities.
Our overall effective income tax rate is equal to our total income tax provision as a percentage of total earnings before tax. However, income tax expense and benefits are not recognized on a global basis but rather on a jurisdictional or legal entity basis. Losses in one jurisdiction may not be used to offset profits in other jurisdictions and may cause an increase in our tax rate. Changes in the mix of earnings (or losses) between jurisdictions and assumptions used in the calculation of income taxes, among other factors, could have a significant effect on our overall effective income tax rate. Additionally, changes in tax laws or developments in an audit, investigation, or other tax controversy can have a material effect on our operating results or cash flows in the period or periods in which that development occurs.
We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service all of our indebtedness and may be forced to take other actions to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness, which may not be successful.
Our ability to make scheduled payments on time or refinance our debt obligations depends on our financial condition and operating performance, which are subject to prevailing economic and competitive conditions and to certain financial, business, legislative, regulatory and other factors beyond our control. We may be unable to maintain a level of cash flows from operating activities sufficient to permit us to pay the principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness.
If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service obligations, we could face substantial liquidity problems and could be forced to reduce or delay investments and capital expenditures or to dispose of material assets or operations, seek additional debt or equity capital or restructure or refinance our indebtedness. We may not be able to affect any such alternative measures on commercially reasonable terms or at all and, even if successful, those alternative actions may not allow us to meet our scheduled debt service obligations. The credit agreement governing the senior secured credit facilities, the indentures that govern our senior notes and the agreements covering our accounts receivable securitization programs restrict our ability to dispose of assets and use the proceeds from those dispositions and may also restrict our ability to raise debt or equity capital to be used to repay other indebtedness when it becomes due. We may not be able to consummate those dispositions or to obtain proceeds in an amount sufficient to meet any debt service obligations then due.
In addition, we conduct a substantial portion of our operations through our subsidiaries, certain of which are not guarantors of our indebtedness. Accordingly, repayment of our indebtedness is dependent on the generation of cash flow by our subsidiaries and their ability to make such cash available to us, by dividend, debt repayment or otherwise. Unless they are guarantors of our indebtedness, our subsidiaries do not have any obligation to pay amounts due on indebtedness or to make funds available for that purpose. Our subsidiaries may not be able to, or may not be permitted to, make distributions to enable us to make payments in respect of our indebtedness. Each subsidiary is a distinct legal entity, and, under certain circumstances, legal and contractual restrictions may limit our ability to obtain cash from our subsidiaries. The indenture governing certain of our senior notes and the credit agreement governing the senior secured credit facilities limit the ability of certain of our subsidiaries to incur consensual restrictions on their ability to pay dividends or make other intercompany payments to us. These limitations are subject to qualifications and exceptions. In the event that we do not receive distributions from our subsidiaries, we may be unable to make required principal and interest payments on our indebtedness.
Our inability to generate sufficient cash flows to satisfy our debt obligations, or to refinance our indebtedness on commercially reasonable terms or at all, would materially and adversely affect our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
If we cannot make scheduled payments on our debt, we will be in default, our note holders and lenders could accelerate the repayment of our borrowings, the lenders could terminate their commitments to loan money and/or foreclose against the assets securing the borrowings, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.
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The terms of our credit agreement governing our senior secured credit facilities, our accounts receivable securitization programs, our supply chain financing programs, and the indentures governing our senior notes may restrict our current and future operations, particularly our ability to respond to changes in market conditions or to take certain actions.
The indentures governing our senior notes and the credit agreement governing our senior secured credit facilities and our accounts receivable securitization programs contain a number of restrictive covenants that impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and may limit our ability to engage in acts that may be in our long-term best interest, including restrictions on our ability to:
incur additional indebtedness;
pay dividends or make other distributions or repurchase or redeem capital stock;
prepay, redeem or repurchase certain debt;
make loans and investments;
sell assets;
incur liens;
enter into transactions with affiliates;
alter the businesses we conduct;
enter into agreements restricting our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends; and
consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets.
In addition, the restrictive covenants in the credit agreement governing our senior credit facilities require us to maintain a specified net leverage ratio. Our ability to meet this financial ratio can be affected by events beyond our control.
A breach of the covenants under the indenture governing our senior notes or under the credit agreement governing our senior secured credit facilities could result in an event of default under the applicable indebtedness. Such a default may allow the creditors to accelerate the related debt and may result in the acceleration of any other debt to which a cross-acceleration or cross-default provision applies. In addition, an event of default under the credit agreement governing our senior secured credit facilities would permit the lenders under our senior secured credit facilities to terminate all commitments to extend further credit under those facilities. Furthermore, if we were unable to repay the amounts due and payable under our senior secured credit facilities, those lenders could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure that indebtedness. In the event our lenders or note holders accelerate the repayment of our borrowings, we and our subsidiaries may not have sufficient assets to repay that indebtedness. As a result of these restrictions, we may be:
limited in how we conduct our business;
unable to respond to changing market conditions;
unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to operate during general economic or business downturns or to repay other indebtedness when it becomes due; or
unable to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities.
In addition, amounts available under our accounts receivable securitization programs and/or utilization of our supply chain financing programs can be impacted by a number of factors, including but not limited to our credit ratings, accounts receivable or payable balances, the creditworthiness of us or our customers, our receivables collection experience and/or our trade payable payment history. Additionally, if our credit ratings were to be downgraded, particularly our Corporate Rating, there could be a negative impact on our ability to access capital markets and borrowing costs could increase.
Our variable rate indebtedness subjects us to interest rate risk, which could cause our debt service obligations to increase significantly.
Borrowings under our senior secured credit facilities are at variable rates of interest and expose us to interest rate risk. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on the variable rate indebtedness will increase even though the amount borrowed will remain the same, and our net income and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, will correspondingly decrease. As of December 31, 2021, we had $512 million of long-term borrowings under our senior secured credit facilities at variable interest rates. A 1/8% increase or decrease in the assumed interest rates on the senior secured credit facilities would result in a $0.6 million increase or decrease in annual interest expense. In the future, we may enter into interest rate swaps that involve the exchange of floating for fixed rate interest payments in order to reduce interest rate volatility. However, we may not maintain interest rate swaps with respect to all of our variable rate indebtedness, and any swaps we enter into may not fully mitigate our interest rate risk.
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The full realization of our deferred tax assets may be affected by a number of factors, including future earnings and the feasibility of on-going planning strategies.
We have deferred tax assets including state and foreign net operating loss carryforwards, accruals not yet deductible for tax purposes, employee benefit items and other items. We have established valuation allowances to reduce the deferred tax assets to an amount that is more likely than not to be realized. Our ability to utilize the deferred tax assets depends in part upon our ability to generate future taxable income within each respective jurisdiction during the periods in which these temporary differences reverse or our ability to carryback any losses created by the deduction of these temporary differences. We expect to realize the assets over an extended period. If we are unable to generate sufficient future taxable income in the U.S. and/or certain foreign jurisdictions, or if there is a significant change in the time period within which the underlying temporary differences become taxable or deductible, we could be required to increase our valuation allowances against our deferred tax assets. Our effective tax rate would increase if we were required to increase our valuation allowances against our deferred tax assets.
Disruption and volatility of the financial and credit markets could affect our external liquidity sources.
Our principal sources of liquidity are accumulated cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments, cash flow from operations and amounts available under our lines of credit, including our senior secured credit facilities, and our accounts receivable securitization programs. We may be unable to refinance any of our indebtedness, including our senior notes, our accounts receivable securitization programs and our senior secured credit facilities, on commercially reasonable terms or at all.
Additionally, conditions in financial markets could affect financial institutions with which we have relationships and could result in adverse effects on our ability to utilize fully our committed borrowing facilities. For example, a lender under the senior secured credit facilities may be unwilling or unable to fund a borrowing request, and we may not be able to replace such lender.
Our insurance policies may not cover all operating risks and a casualty loss beyond the limits of our coverage could materially and adversely impact our business.
Our business is subject to operating hazards and risks relating to handling, storing, transporting and use of the products we sell. We maintain insurance policies in amounts and with coverage and deductibles that we believe are reasonable and prudent. Nevertheless, our insurance coverage may not be adequate to protect us from all liabilities and expenses that may arise from claims for personal injury or death or property damage arising in the ordinary course of business, and our current levels of insurance may not be maintained or available in the future at economical prices. If a significant liability claim is brought against us that is not adequately covered by insurance, we may have to pay the claim with our own funds, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
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Item 2. Properties
We manufacture products in 98 facilities, with 15 of those facilities serving both of our reportable segments. The following table shows our manufacturing facilities by geographic region and our business segment reporting structure:
Properties by Geographic RegionNumber of Manufacturing FacilitiesFood Manufacturing FacilitiesProtective Manufacturing Facilities
Americas(1)
43 13 34 
Europe, Middle East and Africa ("EMEA")27 10 23 
Asia, Australia and New Zealand ("APAC")28 24 
Total98 32 81 
(1)As of January 1, 2021, we consolidated the reporting of the North America and South America geographic regions, which are now collectively presented as Americas. No changes were made to EMEA or APAC.
Other Property Information
We own the large majority of our manufacturing facilities. Some of these facilities are subject to secured or other financing arrangements. We lease the balance of our manufacturing facilities, which are generally smaller sites. Our manufacturing facilities are usually located in general purpose buildings that house our specialized machinery for the manufacture of one or more products. Because of the relatively low density of our air cellular, polyethylene foam and protective mailer products, we realize significant freight savings by locating our manufacturing facilities for these products near our customers and distributors.
We also occupy facilities containing sales, distribution, technical, warehouse or administrative functions at a number of locations in the U.S. and in many foreign countries/territories. Some of these facilities are located on the manufacturing sites that we own and some of these are leased. Stand-alone facilities of these types are generally leased. Our global headquarters is located in an owned property in Charlotte, North Carolina. For a list of those countries and territories outside of the U.S. where we have operations, see Global Scale and Market Access within “Competitive Strengths” in Item 1.
We believe that our manufacturing, warehouse, office and other facilities are well maintained, suitable for their purposes and adequate for our needs.
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Item 3. Legal Proceedings
The information set forth in Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies,” under the captions “Settlement Agreement Tax Deduction” and “Environmental Matters” is incorporated herein by reference.
On November 1, 2019, purported Company stockholder UA Local 13 & Employers Group Insurance Fund filed a putative class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Company and certain of its current and former officers. On June 4, 2020, the complaint was amended to remove all individual defendants other than the Company’s former CFO and to add a plaintiff, and on July 13, 2020, the complaint was further amended to identify a total of four plaintiffs. The complaint alleges violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder based on allegedly false and misleading statements and omissions concerning the Company’s hiring of Ernst & Young LLP as its independent auditors and concerning the Company's corporate policies and procedures. The plaintiffs seek to represent a class of purchasers of the Company’s common stock between November 17, 2014 and June 20, 2019. The complaint seeks, among other things, unspecified compensatory damages, including interest, and attorneys’ fees and costs. On September 4, 2020, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, and on June 1, 2021, the court issued a ruling that granted in part and denied in part the motion to dismiss. The Company filed its answer to the complaint on July 15, 2021.
On January 14, 2020, a stockholder derivative lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware by an alleged stockholder of the Company, purportedly on the Company’s behalf. The suit was brought against certain of the Company’s current and former directors and officers and against the Company, as a nominal defendant. The complaint contains allegations against the individual defendants under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder similar to those in the class action complaint discussed above, as well as allegations of violations of Section 14(a) under the Exchange Act. The complaint also alleges breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and waste of corporate assets by the individual defendants for, among other things, failure to correct the alleged false and misleading statements, insider sales of the company’s stock, compensation benefiting from the alleged artificially inflated stock value, company repurchases of shares based on the alleged inflated stock value, and costs in connection with lawsuits and internal investigations. The complaint seeks unspecified damages for Sealed Air, restitution, and reformation and improvement of Sealed Air’s corporate governance and internal procedures regarding compliance with laws. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on December 3, 2021. That motion is currently being briefed and remains pending before the court.
The Company has received litigation demand letters from purported stockholders of the Company. In the letters, the stockholders alleged substantially the same wrongdoing as that alleged in the stockholder derivative lawsuit described above. The letters either demand that the Company file suit against the same current and former directors and officers as those named as defendants in that derivative lawsuit or indicate that the Company file suit against Ernst & Young, several of its current or former partners and the Company’s former CFO William Stiehl, as applicable. The Board of Directors is taking appropriate steps to consider these matters.
We are also involved in various other legal actions incidental to our business. We believe, after consulting with counsel, that the disposition of these other legal proceedings and matters will not have a material effect on our consolidated financial condition or results of operations including potential impact to cash flows.
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Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.

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Information About Our Executive Officers
The information appearing in the table below sets forth the current position or positions held by each of our executive officers, the officer’s age as of January 31, 2022, the year in which the officer was first elected to the position currently held with us and the year in which such person was first elected an officer. All of our officers serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors.
There are no family relationships among any of our executive officers or directors.
Name and Current PositionAge as of January 31, 2022First Elected to Current PositionFirst Elected an Executive Officer
Edward L. Doheny II
   President and Chief Executive Officer
59 20182017
Christopher J. Stephens, Jr.
   Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
57 20212021
Emile Z. Chammas
   Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
53 20222010
Sergio A. Pupkin
   Senior Vice President, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer
56 20212020
Susan C. Edwards(1)
   Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer
59 20192019
Angel S. Willis
   Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary
51 20192020
Michael A. Leon
   Chief Accounting Officer and Controller
41 20182018
(1) Effective April 1, 2022, Ms. Edwards will retire as Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer.
Mr. Doheny joined the Company as Chief Operating Officer and CEO-Designate in September 2017 and was elected a Director of Sealed Air Corporation. He became President and CEO effective January 1, 2018. Prior to joining the Company in September 2017, Mr. Doheny served as President and Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Joy Global Inc., a manufacturer and servicer of high productivity mining equipment, from 2013 through 2017. Mr. Doheny also served as Executive Vice President of Joy Global and President and Chief Operating Officer of its Underground Mining Machinery business from 2006 to 2013, where he had global responsibility for the company's underground mining machinery business. Prior to joining Joy Global, Mr. Doheny had a 21-year career with Ingersoll Rand Corporation holding a series of senior executive positions of increasing responsibility, including President of Industrial Technologies from 2003 to 2005 and President of the Air Solutions Group from 2000 to 2003.
Mr. Stephens joined the Company as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer-Designate effective January 1, 2021 and became the Chief Financial Officer on February 26, 2021. Previously, he had served as Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer, of Barnes Group Inc. since January 2009. Barnes Group Inc. is a global provider of engineered products, technologies and solutions to a range of industries including aerospace, transportation, manufacturing, automation and packaging. Prior his role at Barnes Group, Mr. Stephens held key leadership roles at Honeywell International, serving as President of the Consumer Products Group from 2007 to 2008, and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Honeywell Transportation Systems from 2003 to 2007. Prior to Honeywell, he held roles with increasing responsibility at The Boeing Company, serving as Vice President and General Manager, Boeing Electron Dynamic Devices; Vice President, Business Operations, Boeing Space and Communications; and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Boeing Satellite Systems.
Mr. Chammas was named Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2022. He joined the Company in 2010 and had served as Senior Vice President, Chief Transformation and Manufacturing/Supply Chain Officer since 2019. Mr. Chammas leads the global procurement and manufacturing organizations with a focus on SEE Operational Excellence across the Company. He also served as Chief Transformation Officer, reflecting his company-wide leadership of the Reinvent SEE business transformation, and oversees the global IT organization. From 2010 to 2019, Mr. Chammas served as Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Chammas was Vice President, Worldwide Supply Chain, for the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, a confectionery company, from 2008 through 2010, and served in management positions of increasing responsibility in supply chain, operations and procurement with the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company from 2002 through 2008.
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Mr. Pupkin was promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer in 2021. He was previously named Vice President and Chief Growth & Strategy Officer and appointed an executive officer of the Company in 2020. In his current role, he is responsible for corporate strategy, global mergers and acquisitions, innovation and development, global marketing, brand communications and our digital business, including e-commerce and SealedAir.com. Prior to his current role, Mr. Pupkin became Chief Strategy Officer in 2019 and served as Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions from 2016 to 2019. From 2011 to 2016 Mr. Pupkin held leadership positions in our former Diversey Care segment and joined Sealed Air in 2011 as a result of the Diversey acquisition. At the time of the acquisition, Mr. Pupkin had over 14 years of increasing responsibility in strategic marketing, business development, sales, and general management for Diversey, Inc. and predecessor companies.
Ms. Edwards was named Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer and appointed as an executive officer of the Company in 2019. She has had responsibility for the Company's global human resource function, including under her previous title, Vice President, Human Resources, since January 2017. Ms. Edwards initially joined Sealed Air in 2011 as Vice President, Global HR Business Partner of Food. From 2014 through 2017, she served as Vice President, HR Business Partner. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Edwards held leadership roles for several global corporations including CIRCOR International, where she was responsible for strategic HR and integration leadership from 2009 until 2011. Prior to CIRCOR, she held many roles with increasing responsibility at Snap-on Incorporated from 2001 until 2009 culminating with her role as Vice President of Rapid Continuous Improvement.
Ms. Willis joined the Company in 2019 as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. She was appointed as an executive officer of the Company in 2020. Prior to joining Sealed Air, Ms. Willis served as Vice President & Deputy General Counsel at Ingersoll Rand. In that role, she led the legal aspects of strategic transactions such as mergers and acquisitions and all legal affairs for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. Overall, Ms. Willis held numerous legal roles with broad scope supporting commercial business units, functions and regions at Ingersoll Rand from 2005 through 2018. Prior to joining Ingersoll Rand, Ms. Willis was Corporate Counsel at Cummins, Inc. and Associate at Ice Miller, LLP.
Mr. Leon was appointed as Chief Accounting Officer and Controller in 2018. Prior to the appointment, he served as the Company’s Assistant Corporate Controller since December 2014. Before joining the Company in 2014, Mr. Leon held various accounting and finance positions with increasing levels of responsibilities at a Big 4 public accounting firm and at several diversified global manufacturing companies, including SPX Corporation from 2012 to 2014, and United Technologies Corporation and its predecessor company, Goodrich Corporation, from 2006 to 2012. He has extensive financial and accounting experience, including financial reporting, financial planning and analysis, mergers and acquisitions, and internal audit, among others.
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PART II
Item 5.  Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information and Holders
Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the trading symbol SEE. As of February 15, 2022, there were approximately 2,967 holders of record of our common stock.
Common Stock Performance Comparisons
The following graph shows, for the five years ended December 31, 2021, the cumulative total return on an investment of $100 assumed to have been made on December 31, 2016 in our common stock. The graph compares this return (“SEE”) with that of comparable investments assumed to have been made on the same date in: (a) the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index (“Composite S&P 500”) and (b) a market capitalization-weighted self-constructed peer group (“Peer Group”).
The Peer Group includes Sealed Air and the following companies: AptarGroup, Inc.; Ashland Global Holdings Inc.; Avery Dennison Corporation; Avient Corporation; Axalta Coating Systems Ltd.; Ball Corporation; Berry Global Group, Inc.; Celanese Corporation; Crown Holdings, Inc.; Graphic Packaging Holding Company; Greif, Inc.; H.B. Fuller Company; Owens-Illinois, Inc.; Packaging Corporation of America; Silgan Holdings Inc.; and Sonoco Products Company. The Peer Group is consistent with the peer companies used by the Organization and Compensation Committee of our Board of Directors (“O&C Committee”) in connection with certain aspects of our executive compensation programs. The O&C Committee includes companies primarily in the materials sector that are comparable to Sealed Air based on sales, number of employees, and market capitalization.
Total return for each assumed investment assumes the reinvestment of all dividends on December 31 of the year in which the dividends were paid.
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see-20211231_g3.jpg
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
Not applicable.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The table below sets forth the total number of shares of our common stock, par value $0.10 per share, that we repurchased in each month of the quarter ended December 31, 2021, the average price paid per share and the maximum number of shares that may yet be purchased under our publicly announced plans or programs.
Period
Total Number of Shares Purchased(1)
Average Price Paid Per ShareTotal Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Announced Plans or ProgramsMaximum Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
 (a)(b)(c)(d)
Balance as of September 30, 2021   $970,088,842 
October 1, 2021 through October 31, 20211,232,015 $56.82 1,232,015 900,090,020 
November 1, 2021 through November 30, 2021146 $— — 900,090,020 
December 1, 2021 through December 31, 202158,280 $62.66 58,280 896,438,119 
Total1,290,441 1,290,295 $896,438,119 
(1)On August 2, 2021, the Board of Directors approved a new share repurchase program of $1.0 billion. This program has no expiration and replaces the previous authorization. From time to time we acquire shares by means of (i) open-market transactions, including through plans complying with Rule 10b5-1 under the Exchange Act, and privately negotiated transactions, including accelerated share repurchase programs, pursuant to our publicly announced program described
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above and (ii) shares withheld from awards under our Omnibus Incentive Plan pursuant to the provision thereof that permits tax withholding obligations or other legally required charges to be satisfied by having us withhold shares from an award under that plan. We report price calculations in column (b) in the table above only for shares purchased as part of our share repurchase program. For shares withheld for tax withholding obligations or other legally required charges, we withhold shares at a price equal to their fair market value.
PeriodShares withheld for tax obligations and chargesAverage withholding price for shares in column “a”
 (a)(b)
October 2021— $— 
November 2021146 $62.92 
December 2021— $— 
Total146  

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Item 6. [Reserved]
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Item 7.Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results
of Operations
The information in this MD&A should be read together with our Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes set forth in Part II, Item 8, as well as the discussion included in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. All amounts and percentages are approximate due to rounding and all dollars are in millions, except per share amounts.
Business Overview and Reportable Segments
Sealed Air Corporation (“SEE”, “Sealed Air”, or the “Company”, also referred to as “we”, “us”, or “our”) is a leading global provider of packaging solutions integrating high-performance materials, automation, equipment and services. SEE designs and delivers packaging solutions that protect goods, preserve food, automate packaging processes, enable e-commerce and digital connectivity for packaged goods. Our packaging solutions are designed to help our customers automate their operations to be increasingly touchless and more resilient, safer, less wasteful, and enhance brand engagement with consumers. We deliver our packaging solutions to an array of end markets including fresh proteins, foods, fluids, medical and healthcare, e-commerce, logistics and omnichannel fulfillment operations, and industrials. Our portfolio of solutions includes leading brands such as CRYOVAC® brand food packaging, SEALED AIR® brand protective packaging, AUTOBAG® brand automated packaging, BUBBLE WRAP® brand packaging and SEE Automation™ solutions.
The Company’s Food and Protective segments are considered reportable segments under FASB ASC Topic 280. Our reportable segments are aligned with similar groups of products and customers. Corporate includes certain costs that are not allocated to the reportable segments. See Note 6, “Segments,” for additional information.
As of January 1, 2021, we consolidated the reporting of the North America and South America geographic regions, which are now collectively presented as Americas within discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations. No changes were made to EMEA or APAC.
We employ sales, marketing and customer service personnel throughout the world who sell and market our products to and through a widespread distribution network, fabricators, converters, e-commerce and mail order fulfillment firms, and contract packaging firms as well as directly to end-users such as food processors, food service businesses, supermarket retailers, lodging, retail pharmaceutical companies, healthcare facilities, medical device manufacturers, and other manufacturers. We generally do not impose annual minimum purchase volume requirements on our distributors. Product returns from our distributors in 2021 were not material. In 2021, 2020 or 2019, no customer or affiliated group of customers accounted for 10% or more of our consolidated net sales.
On a consolidated basis, there normally is minimal seasonality in the business, with net sales slightly lower in the first quarter and slightly higher towards the end of the third quarter through the fourth quarter. Our consolidated results of operations typically trend directionally the same as our net sales seasonality. In 2021, however, our pricing actions in response to raw material price increases and other inflationary pressures, including freight and labor costs, resulted in a higher portion of net sales in the second half compared to prior years. We expect that net sales and earnings may continue to be impacted by the timing of our pricing actions in response to future fluctuations of raw material costs and other inflationary pressures. Approximately one-third of Food's sales are subject to formula based pricing, predominantly within North America and APAC, which lags raw material cost movement by approximately six months, on average. Additionally, changes in end-consumer behavior, such as an increase in e-commerce sales, or temporary social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19 or other factors, have in the past impacted the timing and seasonality of results of operations.
Cash flow from operations tends to be lower in the first quarter and higher in the fourth quarter, reflecting seasonality of sales and working capital changes, including the timing of certain annual incentive compensation payments. During 2021, the Company generated $510 million in cash flow from operations in the second half, compared to $200 million in the first half of 2021. The proportion of cash generated in the second half of the year was relatively consistent with 2020.
The extent and timing of our results of operations may be difficult to predict if significant one-time transactions, events or non-recurring charges were to impact our business.
Competition for most of our packaging products is based primarily on packaging performance characteristics, automation, sustainability-related characteristics of the materials, service, and price. Since competition is also based upon innovations in packaging technology, we maintain ongoing research and development programs to enable us to maintain technological leadership. Competition is both global and regional in scope and includes numerous smaller, local competitors with limited product portfolios and geographic reach.
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Our net sales are sensitive to developments in our customers’ business or market conditions, changes in the global economy, and the effects of foreign currency translation. Our costs can vary materially due to changes in input costs, including petrochemical-related costs (primarily resin costs), which are not within our control. Consequently, our management focuses on reducing those costs that we can control and using petrochemical-based and other raw materials efficiently. We also believe that our global presence helps to mitigate the impact of localized changes in business conditions.
We manage our businesses with a strategic capital allocation mindset to create economic value. We are making investments to create value while generating operating cash flow that will permit us to continue to spend on innovative research and development and to invest in our business by means of capital expenditures for property, equipment and acquisitions. Moreover, we expect that our ability to generate substantial operating cash flow should provide us with the flexibility to repay debt and to return capital to our stockholders.
Each issue of our outstanding senior notes imposes limitations on our operations and those of specified subsidiaries. Our Senior Secured Credit Facility contains customary affirmative and negative covenants for credit facilities of this type, including limitations on our indebtedness, liens, investments, restricted payments, mergers and acquisitions, dispositions of assets, transactions with affiliates, amendment of documents and sale leasebacks, and a covenant specifying a maximum leverage ratio of debt to EBITDA. We expect continued compliance with our debt covenants including the covenant leverage ratio over the next 12 months. See Note 14, “Debt and Credit Facilities” for further details.
Non-U.S. GAAP Information
We present financial information that conforms to U.S. GAAP. We also present financial information that does not conform to U.S. GAAP, as our management believes it is useful to investors. In addition, non-U.S. GAAP financial measures are used by management to review and analyze our operating performance and, along with other data, as internal measures for setting annual budgets and forecasts, assessing financial performance, providing guidance and comparing our financial performance with our peers. Non-U.S. GAAP financial measures also provide management with additional means to understand and evaluate the core operating results and trends in our ongoing business by eliminating certain expenses and/or gains (which may not occur in each period presented) and other items that management believes might otherwise make comparisons of our ongoing business with prior periods and peers more difficult, obscure trends in ongoing operations or reduce management’s ability to make useful forecasts. Non-U.S. GAAP information does not purport to represent any similarly titled U.S. GAAP information and is not an indicator of our performance under U.S. GAAP. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on these non-U.S. GAAP financial measures. Further, investors are urged to review and consider carefully the adjustments made by management to the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure to arrive at these non-U.S. GAAP financial measures, described below.
The non-U.S. GAAP financial metrics exclude certain specified items (“Special Items”), including restructuring charges and restructuring associated costs, adjustments in the valuation of our "SEE Ventures" portfolio (which may include debt or equity investments), certain transactions and other charges related to acquisitions and divestitures, gains and losses related to acquisitions and divestitures, special tax items or tax benefits (collectively, “Tax Special Items”) and certain other items. We evaluate unusual or Special Items on an individual basis. Our evaluation of whether to exclude an unusual or special item for purposes of determining our non-U.S. GAAP financial measures considers both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the item, including among other things (i) its nature, (ii) whether or not it relates to our ongoing business operations, and (iii) whether or not we expect it to occur as part of our normal business on a regular basis.
When we present non-U.S. GAAP forward-looking guidance, we do not also provide guidance for the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP financial measures, as they are not available without unreasonable effort due to the high variability, complexity, and low visibility with respect to certain Special Items, including gains and losses on the disposition of businesses, the ultimate outcome of certain legal or tax proceedings, foreign currency gains or losses resulting from the volatile currency market in Argentina, and other unusual gains and losses. These items are uncertain, depend on various factors, and could be material to our results computed in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin
Adjusted EBITDA is defined as Earnings before Interest Expense, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization, adjusted to exclude the impact of Special Items. Management uses Adjusted EBITDA as one of many measures to assess the performance of the business. Additionally, Adjusted EBITDA is the performance metric used by the Company's chief operating decision maker to evaluate performance of our reportable segments. Adjusted EBITDA is also a metric used to determine performance in the Company's Annual Incentive Plan. We do not believe there are estimates underlying the calculation of Adjusted EBITDA, other than those inherent in our U.S. GAAP results of operations, which would render the use and presentation of Adjusted EBITDA misleading. While the nature and amount of individual Special Items vary from period to period, we believe our calculation of
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Adjusted EBITDA is applied consistently to all periods and, in conjunction with other U.S. GAAP and non-U.S. GAAP financial measures, Adjusted EBITDA provides a useful and consistent comparison of our Company's performance to other periods.
The following table shows a reconciliation of U.S. GAAP Net Earnings from continuing operations to non-U.S. GAAP Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations:
 Year Ended December 31,
(In millions)202120202019
Net earnings from continuing operations$491.2 $484.1 $293.7 
Interest expense, net167.8 174.4 184.1 
Income tax provision225.0 142.1 76.6 
Depreciation and amortization, net of adjustments(1)
232.2 216.5 184.5 
Special Items:   
Restructuring charges
14.5 11.0 41.9 
Other restructuring associated costs
16.5 19.5 60.3 
Foreign currency exchange loss due to highly inflationary economies
3.6 4.7 4.6 
Loss on debt redemption and refinancing activities
18.6 — 16.1 
Increase in fair value of equity investments(6.6)(15.1)— 
Impairment of debt investment8.0 — — 
Charges related to acquisition and divestiture activity
2.6 7.1 14.9 
Charges related to the Novipax settlement agreement
— — 59.0 
Gain on sale of Reflectix(45.3)— — 
Other Special Items3.5 6.8 29.1 
Pre-tax impact of Special Items15.4 34.0 225.9 
Non-U.S. GAAP Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations$1,131.6 $1,051.1 $964.8 
 
      
(1)Includes depreciation and amortization adjustment of $(0.8) million for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The Company may also assess performance using Adjusted EBITDA Margin. Adjusted EBITDA Margin is calculated as Adjusted EBITDA divided by net sales. We believe that Adjusted EBITDA Margin is a useful measure to assess the profitability of sales made to third parties and the efficiency of our core operations.
Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted Earnings Per Share
Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted Earnings Per Share (“Adjusted EPS”) are also used by the Company to measure total company performance. Adjusted Net Earnings is defined as U.S. GAAP net earnings from continuing operations excluding the impact of Special Items. Adjusted EPS is defined as our Adjusted Net Earnings divided by the number of diluted shares outstanding. We believe that Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted EPS are useful measurements of Company performance, along with other U.S. GAAP and non-U.S. GAAP financial measures, because they incorporate non-cash items of depreciation and amortization, including stock-based compensation, which impact the overall performance and net earnings of our business. Additionally, Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted EPS reflect the impact of our Adjusted Tax Rate and interest expense on a net and per share basis. While the nature and amount of individual Special Items vary from period to period, we believe our calculation of Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted EPS is applied consistently to all periods and, in conjunction with other U.S. GAAP and non-U.S. GAAP financial measures, Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted EPS provide a useful and consistent comparison of our Company's performance to other periods.
The following table shows a reconciliation of U.S. GAAP Net Earnings and Diluted Earnings per Share from continuing operations to non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted EPS from continuing operations.
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 Year Ended December 31,
 202120202019
(In millions, except per share data)Net EarningsDiluted EPSNet EarningsDiluted EPSNet EarningsDiluted EPS
U.S. GAAP net earnings and diluted EPS from continuing operations(1)
$491.2   $3.22   $484.1   $3.10 $293.7 $1.89 
Special Items(2)
49.6   0.33   14.3   0.09 145.0 0.93 
Non-U.S. GAAP adjusted net earnings and adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations$540.8   $3.55   $498.4   $3.19 $438.7   $2.82 
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding – Diluted
152.4   156.0   155.2 
 
 
(1)Net earnings per common share are calculated under the two-class method.
(2)Includes pre-tax Special Items, less Tax Special Items and the tax impact of Special Items as seen in the following calculation of non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted income tax rate.
Adjusted Tax Rate
We also present our adjusted income tax rate (“Adjusted Tax Rate”). The Adjusted Tax Rate is a measure of our U.S. GAAP effective tax rate, adjusted to exclude the tax impact from the Special Items that are excluded from our Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted EPS metrics as well as expense or benefit from any special taxes or Tax Special Items. The Adjusted Tax Rate is an indicator of the taxes on our core business. The tax circumstances and effective tax rate in the specific countries where the Special Items occur will determine the impact (positive or negative) to the Adjusted Tax Rate. While the nature and amount of Tax Special Items vary from period to period, we believe our calculation of the Adjusted Tax Rate is applied consistently to all periods and, in conjunction with our U.S. GAAP effective income tax rate, the Adjusted Tax Rate provides a useful and consistent comparison of the impact that tax expense has on our Company's performance.
The following table shows our calculation of the non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted income tax rate:
 Year Ended December 31,
(In millions, except per share data)202120202019
U.S. GAAP Earnings before income tax provision from continuing operations$716.2 $626.2 $370.3 
Pre-tax impact of Special Items15.4 34.0 225.9 
Non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted Earnings before income tax provision from continuing operations$731.6 $660.2 $596.2 
U.S. GAAP Income tax provision from continuing operations$225.0 $142.1 $76.6 
Tax Special Items(1)
(31.9)12.1 25.5 
Tax impact of Special Items(2)
(2.3)7.6 55.4 
Non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted Income tax provision from continuing operations$190.8 $161.8 $157.5 
U.S. GAAP Effective income tax rate31.4 %22.7 %20.7 %
Non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted income tax rate26.1 %24.5 %26.4 %
 
  
(1)For the year ended December 31, 2021, Tax Special Items reflect interest and other adjustments to existing unrecognized tax positions and deferred tax revaluations associated with legislative changes and administrative interpretations to enacted statutes. For the year ended December 31, 2020, Tax Special Items reflect net benefits from audit settlements and retroactive application of new GILTI regulations, offset by withholding expense related to cash repatriation initiatives. For the year ended December 31, 2019, Tax Special Items reflect net benefits from tax optimization initiatives and research and development credits.
(2)The tax rate used to calculate the tax impact of Special Items is based on the jurisdiction in which the item was recorded.
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Organic and Constant Dollar Measures
In our “Net Sales by Geographic Region,” “Net Sales by Segment” and in some of the discussions and tables that follow, we exclude the impact of foreign currency translation when presenting net sales information, which we define as “constant dollar”, and we exclude acquisitions in the first year after closing, divestiture activity from the time of sale, and the impact of foreign currency translation when presenting net sales information, which we define as “organic.” Changes in net sales excluding the impact of foreign currency translation and/or acquisition and divestiture activity are non-U.S. GAAP financial measures. As a worldwide business, it is important that we consider the effects of foreign currency translation when we view our results and plan our strategies. Nonetheless, we cannot control changes in foreign currency exchange rates. Consequently, when our management analyzes our financial results including performance metrics such as sales, cost of sales or selling, general and administrative expense, to measure the core performance of our business, we may exclude the impact of foreign currency translation by translating our current period results at prior period foreign currency exchange rates. We also may exclude the impact of foreign currency translation when making incentive compensation determinations. As a result, our management believes that these presentations are useful internally and may be useful to investors.
Refer to these specific tables presented later in our Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for reconciliations of these non-U.S. GAAP financial measures to their most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measures.
Free Cash Flow
In addition to net cash provided by operating activities, we use free cash flow as a useful measure of performance and an indication of the strength and ability of our operations to generate cash. We define free cash flow as cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures (which is classified as an investing activity). Free cash flow is not defined under U.S. GAAP. Therefore, free cash flow should not be considered a substitute for net income or cash flow data prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies. Free cash flow does not represent residual cash available for discretionary expenditures, including certain debt servicing requirements or non-discretionary expenditures that are not deducted from this measure.
Refer to the specific tables presented later in our Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations under Analysis of Historical Cash Flow for reconciliations of this non-U.S. GAAP financial measure to its most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measure.
Net Debt
In addition to total debt, we use Net Debt, which we define as total debt less cash and cash equivalents, as a useful measure of our total debt exposure. Net Debt is not defined under U.S. GAAP. Therefore, Net Debt should not be considered a substitute for amounts owed to creditors or other balance sheet information prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP, and it may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies.
Refer to the specific tables presented later in our Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations under Outstanding Indebtedness for reconciliations of this non-U.S. GAAP financial measure to its most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measures.
Executive Summary for 2021
Throughout 2021, we continued to focus on executing our strategies to drive growth through automation, digital, and sustainability solutions. Despite challenges, including the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain and raw material disruptions, and a tight labor market, SEE continued to work collaboratively across functions and countries. Net sales and net earnings grew in the current year, as we continued to deliver for our customers.
Automation - Since launching our SEE Automation Solutions strategy in 2020, we have experienced growth in equipment sales. We aim to solve our customers’ automation needs while creating significant return on their investments through savings and increased productivity. With SEE Automation, we are taking an integrated solutions approach and looking for opportunities to help customers eliminate waste, simplify processes, remove people from harm's way and drive 'touchless' operations.
Digital - We have launched the MySEE digital e-commerce platform to make doing business with SEE easier and more efficient. We are investing in automation and digital technologies that enhance performance, efficiency and monitoring in customers’ and our own operations. We are developing smart packaging that can enable traceability and
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deliver digital content. We are investing in digital printing to drive customer savings, generate demand and enhance brand image and shelf impact.
Sustainability - Sustainability is embedded in our purpose and vision. We are designing high-performance packaging materials with recyclability in mind, to make sustainability more affordable, and to create a pathway for a circular economy.
We strive to deploy a purpose driven capital allocation strategy. As part of that strategy we invest and acquire to meet our strategic priorities. On November 1, 2021, the Company completed the sale of Reflectix, Inc. (“Reflectix”), a non-strategic business within the Protective reporting segment that sells reflective insulation solutions. The business was sold for $82.5 million in cash proceeds. We recorded a $45 million pre-tax gain on the sale of Reflectix, within Gain (Loss) on sale of businesses and property and equipment on the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Throughout 2021, we continued to invest in disruptive technologies and innovations through our SEE Ventures initiative. For the year ended December 31, 2021, we invested $18 million in strategic equity and debt instruments.
We continue to execute our Reinvent SEE business transformation, focused on the 4P'SSM: Performance, People + Digital, Platforms, Processes and Sustainability. During the year, the Reinvent SEE business transformation delivered incremental Adjusted EBITDA benefits of $64 million. The restructuring component of the Reinvent SEE business transformation is now expected to conclude by mid-2022. The capabilities, operational disciplines, and governance processes established through the Reinvent SEE business transformation are embedded in our on-going continuous improvement system and demonstrating sustained results. For the year ended December 31, 2021, we incurred approximately $31 million, or $23 million net of tax, in restructuring and restructuring associated charges primarily related to our Reinvent SEE business transformation initiatives. Cash payments, including restructuring payments, primarily related to our Reinvent SEE business transformation, were $28 million. See Note 12, “Restructuring Activities,” for additional details regarding each of the Company’s restructuring programs.
Supply Chain Disruptions and Raw Material Price Increases
Throughout 2021, the Company experienced supply chain disruptions and sharp raw material price increases resulting from various factors including general inflationary pressure, limited availability of certain raw materials, global transportation disruptions and natural disasters such as Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. In addition to higher raw material costs, we have incurred higher freight costs associated with the sourcing and movement of raw materials due to overall tight market conditions. As a result, cost of sales increased from 67.2% of sales to 69.6% of sales during the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to the prior year.
The Company implemented price increases throughout the year. The associated timing lag on these increases and formula-based pricing has resulted in compressed gross margins (defined as the gross profit divided by net sales) during the year ended December 31, 2021. On average, our formula-based pricing lags raw material cost movement by approximately six months. Approximately one-third of Food's sales are subject to formula-based pricing, predominantly within the Americas and APAC. Formula-based pricing does not comprise a significant portion of sales in our Protective segment.
We continue to work closely with our customers and have been leveraging our global supply network and supplier relationships and implementing material substitution where available to meet customers' demands and mitigate supply continuity risks. However, the current environment continues to negatively impact the price and supply of certain raw materials. Additionally, the supply disruptions may result in longer lead times for some of our customers, the loss and/or delay of sales, or the inability to fulfill customer orders. Any of these developments may have a material adverse impact on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Refer to Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” for information concerning operational risks, including customer responses to price increases, raw material pricing and availability.
Impact of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic, including the outbreak of variants such as Delta and Omicron, and the related containment and mitigation measures that have been put into place across the globe, have had and may continue to have an adverse impact on the global economy and our business.
We continue to monitor the impact that COVID-19 has on all aspects of our business and geographies, including the impact on our employees, customers, suppliers, business partners and distribution channels.
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We and some of our customers have experienced facility shutdowns or reductions in operations during the pandemic. The outbreak of recent variants has adversely impacted staffing levels in our operations as affected employees recover from illness or contagious periods.
Our diverse end-markets and geographies continue to experience varying degrees of impact from COVID-19. The food service market, including restaurants, entertainment venues and hotels, experienced higher activity in 2021 as compared to the prior year when it was more adversely impacted by government mandated shut-downs and social distancing measures. This resulted in year-over-year volume growth for many of our products that support this market. Protective experienced year-over-year volume increases in 2021, particularly within industrial segments, as economies continued to reopen.
However, the environment remains volatile, and we cannot predict the future impacts of the pandemic on our business and the markets we serve. Government agencies may impose future restrictions on commercial activities to limit the spread of the virus, including new variants. Future developments of the pandemic, including future spikes or areas of significant regional spread, may cause uneven impacts to our geographies around the world.
The health and safety of SEE’s employees, suppliers and customers globally continues to be the Company’s top priority. Safety measures remain in place at our sites such as: enhanced cleaning procedures, employee temperature checks, use of personal protective equipment for location-dependent workers, social distancing measures within operating sites, and remote/flexible work arrangements for non-location dependent employees.
In remote working environments, we continue our efforts to mitigate information technology risks including failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support our businesses and customers, or cyber attacks and security breaches of our networks or systems. Additionally, we continue to execute all activities related to our internal control over financial reporting in remote working environments. There has not been any change in our internal control over financial reporting during the year ended December 31, 2021 that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
See Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” above for additional risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current Trends and Forward Looking Expectations
We expect overall demand for our solutions will continue to be strong in 2022. We expect sales for our automated solutions and digital offerings, as well as sales through our online enterprise digital commerce channel, to continue to increase, as we execute on our growth strategies. We expect disciplines developed through our Reinvent SEE business transformation to continue to transform into our on-going continuous improvement program, SEE Operating Engine, driving operational efficiencies and benefits in 2022 and beyond.
However, supply chain disruptions and raw material availability will continue to pose challenges. We will continue to leverage our global supply network, although we expect continued higher freight costs and possible delays in our operations. Overall, we expect higher raw materials costs in 2022 in addition to higher non-material costs and labor inflation. In addition, inflation, labor challenges, the impact of COVID-19, and overall supply chain disruptions are expected to continue to impact our business in 2022.
In the future some of SEE's products will be subject to a tax on certain plastics, which is currently scheduled to go into effect in 2022 in the United Kingdom and other European countries in 2023. While we expect to pass through the plastics tax, there is no guarantee that we will be able to recover the impact of plastic taxes from our customers. Not all of our products are subject to the tax, as the tax is dependent on various factors including, weight, gauge, material recyclability and recycled content, among other factors. Even if we were not successful in passing through the expense, we do not believe the impact of the plastic taxes, as planned to go in effect in 2022 or 2023, would have a material impact on our results of operations. However, the impact of legislation or tax policies that may be amended or proposed and passed in the future is unknown. We maintain programs designed to comply with laws and regulations and to monitor their evolution.
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Highlights of Financial Performance
Below are the highlights of our financial performance for the three years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019.
Year Ended December 31,% Change
(In millions, except per share amounts)2021202020192021 vs. 20202020 vs. 2019
Net sales$5,533.8 $4,903.2 $4,791.1 12.9 %2.3 %
Gross profit$1,680.9 $1,609.3 $1,564.8 4.4 %2.8 %
As a % of net sales30.4 %32.8 %32.7 %
Operating profit $900.9 $788.1 $578.5 14.3 %36.2 %
As a % of net sales16.3 %16.1 %12.1 %
Net earnings from continuing operations$491.2 $484.1 $293.7 1.5 %64.8 %
Gain (Loss) on sale of discontinued operations, net of tax15.6 18.8 (30.7)(17.0)%#
Net earnings $506.8 $502.9 $263.0 0.8 %91.2 %
Basic:
Continuing operations$3.26 $3.12 $1.90 4.5 %64.2 %
Discontinued operations0.10 0.12 (0.20)(16.7)%#
Net earnings per common share - basic$3.36 $3.24 $1.70 3.7 %90.6 %
Diluted:
Continuing operations$3.22 $3.10 $1.89 3.9 %64.0 %
Discontinued operations0.10 0.12 (0.20)(16.7)%#
Net earnings per common share - diluted$3.32 $3.22 $1.69 3.1 %90.5 %
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding:
Basic150.9 155.2 154.3 
Diluted152.4 156.0 155.2 
Non-U.S. GAAP Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations(1)
$1,131.6 $1,051.1 $964.8 7.7 %8.9 %
Non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted EPS from continuing operations(2)
$3.55 $3.19 $2.82 11.3 %13.1 %
 
#    Denotes a variance greater than or equal to 100% or equal to or less than (100)%.
(1)See “Non-U.S. GAAP Information” for a reconciliation of U.S. GAAP net earnings from continuing operations to non-U.S. GAAP Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations.
(2)See “Non-U.S. GAAP Information” for a reconciliation of U.S. GAAP net earnings and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations to non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted Net Earnings and Adjusted EPS from continuing operations.
Foreign Currency Translation Impact on Consolidated Financial Results
Since we are a U.S. domiciled company, we translate our foreign currency-denominated financial results into U.S. dollars. Due to the changes in the value of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar, translating our financial results from foreign currencies to U.S. dollars may result in a favorable or unfavorable impact. Historically, the most significant currencies that have impacted the translation of our consolidated financial results are the euro, the Australian dollar, the British pound, the Canadian dollar, the Chinese Renminbi, the Mexican peso, the Brazilian real and the New Zealand dollar.
The following table presents the approximate favorable or (unfavorable) impact that foreign currency translation had on certain components of our consolidated financial results: 
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(In millions)2021 vs. 20202020 vs. 2019
Net sales$67.9 $(81.8)
Cost of sales(48.6)60.0 
Selling, general and administrative expenses(9.2)5.6 
Net earnings9.0 (8.7)
Non-U.S. GAAP Adjusted EBITDA13.1 (15.6)

Net Sales by Geographic Region
The following tables present the components of the change in net sales by geographic region for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared with 2020 and for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared with 2019.
(In millions)
Americas(1)
EMEAAPACTotal
2020 Net Sales$3,135.6 64.0 %$1,031.6 21.0 %$736.0 15.0 %$4,903.2 100.0 %
Price262.4 8.4 %26.7 2.6 %7.2 1.0 %296.3 6.0 %
Volume(2)
139.9 4.4 %100.3 9.7 %33.6 4.5 %273.8 5.6 %
Total organic change (non-U.S. GAAP)402.3 12.8 %127.0 12.3 %40.8 5.5 %570.1 11.6 %
Divestiture(7.4)(0.2)%— — %— — %(7.4)(0.1)%
Total constant dollar change (non-U.S. GAAP)394.9 12.6 %127.0 12.3 %40.8 5.5 %562.7 11.5 %
Foreign currency translation(8.2)(0.3)%41.4 4.0 %34.7 4.7 %67.9 1.4 %
Total change (U.S. GAAP)386.7 12.3 %168.4 16.3 %75.5 10.2 %630.6 12.9 %
2021 Net Sales$3,522.3 63.6 %$1,200.0 21.7 %$811.5 14.7 %$5,533.8 100.0 %

(In millions)
Americas(1)
EMEAAPACTotal
2019 Net Sales$3,061.9 63.9 %$1,010.4 21.1 %$718.8 15.0 %$4,791.1 100.0 %
Price(1.5)— %1.7 0.2 %(1.0)(0.1)%(0.8)— %
Volume(2)
25.6 0.8 %(14.8)(1.5)%11.5 1.6 %22.3 0.4 %
Total organic change (non-U.S. GAAP)24.1 0.8 %(13.1)(1.3)%10.5 1.5 %21.5 0.4 %
Acquisition133.8 4.4 %33.0 3.3 %5.6 0.7 %172.4 3.6 %
Total constant dollar change (non-U.S. GAAP)157.9 5.2 %19.9 2.0 %16.1 2.2 %193.9 4.0 %
Foreign currency translation(84.2)(2.8)%1.3 0.1 %1.1 0.2 %(81.8)(1.7)%
Total change (U.S. GAAP)73.7 2.4 %21.2 2.1 %17.2 2.4 %112.1 2.3 %
2020 Net Sales$3,135.6 64.0 %$1,031.6 21.0 %$736.0 15.0 %$4,903.2 100.0 %
 
  
(1)As of January 1, 2021, we consolidated the reporting of the North America and South America geographic regions, which are now collectively presented as Americas. No changes were made to EMEA or APAC. This change has no impact on our prior period consolidated results and is only the aggregation of the previously bifurcated continents. Prior periods have been retrospectively adjusted to reflect the new geographic regions.
(2)Our volume reported above includes the net impact of changes in unit volume as well as the period-to-period change in the mix of products sold.
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Net Sales by Segment
The following tables present the components of change in net sales by our segment reporting structure for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared with 2020, and for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared with 2019.  
(In millions)FoodProtectiveTotal Company
2020 Net Sales$2,825.5 57.6 %$2,077.7 42.4 %$4,903.2 100.0 %
Price141.9 5.0 %154.4 7.5 %296.3 6.0