Sonoco is a $5 billion global provider of consumer packaging, industrial products and packaging supply chain services. When collaborating with our customers, we leverage our deep knowledge of material science, our i6 Innovation Process?, and our industry-leading packaging and services portfolio to create impactful customized solutions that build stronger brands.
Business Strength and Shareholder Performance
2018?net sales were $5.39 billion, up $354.3 million compared with $5.04?billion in 2017. Sales grew 7.0% for the year due to higher selling prices implemented to recover rising material, freight, and other operating costs; acquisitions; and modest volume/mix growth.
We returned $176.0 million to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases in 2018, and $951.2 million over?the past five years. We have provided quarterly dividends since 1925 and have increased dividends for 35?consecutive years, while providing shareholders a current 3.1% yield on investment.
During 2018, Sonoco provided a 3.1% total return to shareholders*, which significantly outperformed our peers and the major indices. Our 3-year total return to shareholders of 42.4% compares favorably to a 26.9% total return by the Dow Jones Container and Packaging index and 30.4% return by the S&P 500.?
*Cumulative stock price appreciation, plus dividends, with dividends reinvested