Ball Corp. sets public companies' pace
Below are brief recaps of the past year-and-a-half for the five largest publicly traded companies based in Boulder and Broomfield counties.
1 - Ball Corp. :
Ball (NYSE: BLL) continued its international expansion, developed new products, continued adding new partners and saw strong results.
Ball's major activities are metal packaging for beverages, food and aerosol products. Ball Aerospace & Technologies, a subsidiary, builds spacecraft and components for satellites and aircraft. The Broomfield-based company saw sales jump by 13 percent to $8.63 billion in 2011, while profits dipped 5 percent to $444 million.
A Ball-built climate monitoring satellite was launched in October. So far in 2012, Ball has completed new manufacturing plants in China, Brazil and Vietnam, which the company believes will give it access to emerging markets. In April, NASA extended the Kepler Mission, of which Ball is the mission prime contractor, through 2016.
2 - Level 3 Communications Inc. :
"We are pleased with the progress we have made in coming together as one company," Jeff Storey, Level 3 president and chief operating officer, said in February. "We are now one team, having defined organizational structures, identified leadership and aligned teams within those structures."
Level 3 (NYSE: LVLT) reported a 21 percent increase in revenue to $4.3 billion in 2011. The company saw its 2011 losses increase 22 percent, reaching $756 million.
3 - Vail Resorts Inc. :
Historically low snowfall kept skiers away from the company's resorts. Its four resorts in Colorado — Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone — saw the lowest snowfall in 30 years, and kept Vail's famous Back Bowls closed until mid-January.
Vail's resorts near Lake Tahoe, Calif. — Heavenly and Northstar-at-Tahoe, which the company acquired in fall 2010 — did not fare much better. No snow fell during December, which hadn't happened since the late 1800s, according to the company.
Rob Katz, chief executive of Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN), described it as "the most challenging winter in the history of the United States ski industry."
The challenges meant Vail Resorts' revenues dipped in the first nine months of its fiscal year. (Vail's fiscal year runs from Aug. 1 to July 31 to accommodate the ski season.) Revenues dropped nearly 14 percent to $911 million.
The difficult season follows a great 2010-11 for the company. Vail Resorts posted revenue of $1.17 billion the prior fiscal year and a profit of $34.5 million.
4 - Crocs Inc. :
The year 2011 proved to be a landmark for Crocs, as the company surpassed $1 billion in revenue for the first time on the strength of a 27 percent rise in annual sales. The company turned a profit of nearly $113 million, a 67 percent improvement over the year before. The momentum continued into 2012, as the company posted a 20 percent quarter-to-quarter gain in revenue during the first quarter.
Crocs' growth comes as president and CEO John McCarvel settles in after taking the company's helm in February 2010. McCarvel cited Crocs' efforts to expand its product line into cold-weather shoes as a reason for growth in his summary of the company's 2011 fiscal year.
McCarvel remains bullish on Crocs, predicting it will double sales in five years. Despite the performance and predictions, Crocs' stock price has lagged in recent months, falling to below $16 per share from a peak above $31 per share in August.
5 - DigitalGlobe Inc. :
DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI) in May rejected an unsolicited takeover bid from GeoEye Inc., a competitor in the satellite imaging industry. The two companies had been trading takeover proposals privately since February, but in May GeoEye went public with its bid.
DigitalGlobe's board rejected GeoEye's advances, saying its takeover bid undervalued the company and its future prospects.
DigitalGlobe's prospects got brighter in June, when the company announced a major client, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, had renewed its contract for the EnhancedView program through Aug. 31, 2013.
DigitalGlobe reported revenue of $339.5 million in 2011, a 5 percent improvement on the $322.5 million it made in 2010. For the full year, DigitalGlobe reported a net loss of $28.1 million, compared with net income of $2.5 million for 2010.
More breaking news...
Bug eyes inspire University of Colorado engineer
Cities vie to be part of 2014 bike race