Ball Corporation reports positive 2019 figures

Ball Corporation has reported on its 2019 net earnings, which were $861 million compared to $775 million in 2018.

The report displays, on a US GAAP basis, full-year and fourth quarter earnings per diluted share of $1.66 and 48 cents respectively, reflecting an increase of 29% and 9% year-over-year respectively. Ball’s full-year and fourth quarter comparable earnings per diluted share were $2.53 and 71 cents respectively, reflecting an increase of 15% and 29% year-over-year respectively.

The report also displayed that Ball’s global beverage can volumes had increased by 5% in 2019.  Results reflect the 2019 sale of the company’s Argentine steel aerosol business and Chinese beverage can assets, as well as the 2018 sale of the company’s US steel food and steel aerosol business.

“We finished 2019 on a strong note, with fourth quarter comparable operating earnings increasing 14%, comparable earnings per diluted share increasing 29% and stronger than expected cash flow generation being driven by working capital improvements across most of our businesses. Over the past year, our global beverage volumes increased 5%, our aerospace contracted backlog increased 14% and we were able to sell underperforming assets.

“With global customer and consumer demand for aluminium packaging solutions continuing to outpace existing supply, our previously announced aluminium beverage can and cup projects will add at least eight billion units of capacity by the end of 2021,” said John A. Hayes, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“Throughout 2020, our focus will be on execution through improving our operational excellence and customer service, amplifying the sustainability benefits of aluminium packaging, and executing beverage and aerospace investment projects. In the near- and long-term, our business portfolio is well positioned to deliver on our financial goals and increase shareholder returns for many more years.”

Outlook

Commenting on the overall outlook for Ball Corporation, Scott C. Morrison, senior vice president and chief financial officer, had this to say:

“In 2019, we met our goals of generating nearly $1 billion in free cash flow and returning in excess of $1 billion to shareholders, in addition to investing $600 million to expand our capabilities and initiate multi-year plans to increase our global beverage can production. Our successful November 2019 euro-denominated bond issuance resulted in favourable rates and a larger than typical cash balance at year-end. In January 2020, we redeemed the outstanding 3.5% and 4.375% 2020 senior notes. The company continues to operate from a position of strength with earnings growth and cash flow to support disciplined growth investments and consistent return of value to shareholders in the range of $1 billion in 2020.”

Hayes added: “We are building our future today. Managing the growth in our existing businesses, being the sustainability leader, enabling the go-to-market strategy for our new aluminium cups business, and executing our disciplined capital allocation strategy is an exciting way to embark on 2020 and beyond.

“We look forward to delivering long-term diluted earnings per share growth of at least 10 to 15%, increasing EVA dollars generated on a growing invested capital base and returning significant value to shareholders.”

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