UPDATE 2-MeadWestvaco Q4 profit misses Street; shares drop

* Q4 adj EPS 22 cts vs. Street 23 cts

* Revenue rises 2.3 percent

* Shares drop 6.5 percent
(Recasts, adds analyst comment, byline, stock movement)

By Ernest Scheyder

NEW YORK, Jan 27 (BestGrowthStock) – MeadWestvaco Corp (MWV.N: )
posted a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) on Wednesday
and said a strong economic recovery remains uncertain for 2010,
sending shares of the packaging maker down 6.5 percent.

The Glen Allen, Virginia-based company makes paperboard,
pumps for consumer goods, packaging and many other products
that primarily go into consumer applications. Demand for its
products has ebbed and flowed since the recession began, making
long-term planning difficult for executives.

“MeadWestvaco performed well in what remained a difficult
economic environment during 2009,” Chief Executive John Luke
said in a statement, saying emerging economies will be areas of
growth in 2010.

Yet while the company is seeing some positive signs from
customers, “no one expects a dramatic recovery in the near
future,” President Jim Buzzard said on a conference call with
investors.

Cost cuts did help boost results during the period, but
Wall Street has been increasingly wary in recent quarters of
income generated from anything but sales.

For the period the company posted net income of $51
million, or 29 cents per share, compared with a loss of $16
million, or 9 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding one-time items, the company posted profit of 22
cents per share. By that measure, analysts expected earnings of
23 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 2.3 percent to $1.64 billion. Analysts
expected $1.52 billion in revenue.

While profit did miss expectations, Sterne Agee analyst
Mark Connelly praised the company’s “good operating
performance” and kept a “buy” rating on the stock.

Connelly noted that the company’s consumer solutions unit
has not been severely affected by the recession due to greater
demand for pumps from soap makers during the swine flu season.

Shares fell $1.74, or 6.5 percent, to $24.86 in morning
trading. The stock has traded between $7.53 and $29.74 in the
past 52 weeks.

Stock Research

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

UPDATE 2-MeadWestvaco Q4 profit misses Street; shares drop