Intertape Polymer Group Inc. (IPG) recently released results for its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2020. Revenue for the year reached $1.2 billion, a 4.7% increase compared to 2019. IPG attributes the growth primarily to an increase in volume/mix driven mainly by increased demand in products with significant e-commerce or building and construction end-market exposure, including water-activated tapes, protective packaging, and certain other tape products. In the fourth quarter, revenue increased 18% to $344.1 million.
"Our business has undergone a structural change that has been in the making since 2016," said Greg Yull, president and CEO. "The acquisitions we made in protective packaging and machinery automation have strengthened our product bundle. Our capital investment program during that period targeted the key end markets where we have experienced our highest growth. And the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 dramatically altered our e-commerce end market, which third parties estimate significantly pulled forward demand and established a new base level on which future growth is expected to continue. As a result of these changes and the leverage on our asset utilization, our margin profile has improved, our free cash flow generation has increased and our ability to grow with our customers is better today than at any point in the history of the Company. Our results in the fourth quarter with revenue growth of 18% and free cash flow of $64 million prove this out. On the strength of these results, we intend to invest in the highest growth areas of the business within our existing plant footprints while maintaining strong free cash flow in 2021.
"We continue to experience strong sales and order flow in the first quarter, which are in line with the trends from the second half of 2020. We believe demand in key product categories will continue post pandemic. As a result, we are moving ahead with the installation of a new water-activated tape line within our existing footprint that will be operational in 2022 and we are expanding production capacity in other high growth areas, specifically woven products, protective packaging and films. By expanding capacity within our existing footprint we expect these projects will provide shorter-term investment horizons and higher returns."
Additional details are available at www.itape.com.