Ball reports strong first quarter results

US based Ball Corporation has seen a dramatic increase in packaging sales in the first quarter of 2011.

Sales, including Ball’s aerospace business, increased to US$2.01 billion comapred with the same quarter of 2010, at $1.82bn.

Double-digit beverage can volume increases in Brazil and China helped contribute to this rise. Net profits were up 15% to $91.3m, compared with $79.3m in 2010.

Commenting on the results, Ball’s president and CEO John Hayes (pictured), said: “Momentum from our strong results in 2010 continues into 2011 as we leverage our considerable strengths to grow with our customers in both mature and emerging markets. Our overall strong volume growth in each of our businesses, the impact of the consolidation of our Brazilian joint venture, the acquisitions of our North American slug and European extruded aluminium aerosol businesses and Chinese beverage can joint venture, growth in our aerospace segment and excellent operating performance across all of our businesses contributed to Ball’s first quarter results.”

Metal beverage packaging, Americas and Asia, comparable segment operating earnings were $115.6 million in the first quarter on sales of $1 billion, compared to $74 million on sales of $774.4 million in the first quarter of 2010. Mid single-digit volume improvement in North America, double-digit volume increases in Brazil and China and the consolidation into the segment of the company’s Brazilian joint venture results led to significantly improved segment performance.

During the quarter, Ball successfully started up a second production line in the company’s Tres Rios, Brazil, plant, and announced plans to build a fourth beverage packaging plant in Brazil and a joint venture metal beverage can plant in Vietnam. Both new plants are expected to start up during the first half of 2012.

Metal beverage packaging, Europe, comparable segment results in the quarter were operating earnings of $53.1 million on sales of $443 million, compared to $35 million on sales of $367.5 million in 2010.
Mid single-digit volume growth, the smooth integration of an extruded aluminum aerosol business acquired in January, the continued recovery of the beverage can in Germany and excellent operating performance contributed to improved results. The company is accelerating investments in its newly acquired extruded aluminum aerosol business in 2011 to meet demand for those packages. Also during the quarter, Ball completed the relocation and successful start up of a beverage can line from a planned plant in Poland to its existing Belgrade, Serbia, plant.

Metal food and household products packaging, Americas, comparable segment results in the quarter were operating earnings of $39.8 million on sales of $344.7 million, compared to $21.7 million in 2010 on sales of $285.4 million.

“The company is on track to have another excellent year in 2011,” Hayes adds, “The investments we are making this year will broaden our product portfolio and expand our businesses into new markets to position Ball for continued growth over the long term. We are committed to achieving our long-term goal of 10 to 15% earnings growth per year.”

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