Ball's second-quarter results improves
Ball reported second-quarter net earnings of $139.5 million, or 88 cents per diluted share, on sales of $2.3 billion. That figure compares with $143.1 million, or 84 cents per diluted share, on sales of $2.3 billion in the second quarter of 2011.
For the first six months of the year, Broomfield-based Ball (NYSE: BLL) reported net earnings of $227.8 million, or $1.42 per diluted share, on sales of $4.3 billion, compared with $234.4 million, or $1.37 cents per diluted share, on sales of $4.3 billion in the first six months of 2011.
Comparable 2012 earnings per diluted share for the second quarter and year-to-date were 89 cents and $1.52, respectively versus second quarter and year-to-date 2011 comparable earnings per diluted share of 85 cents and $1.43, respectively.
Ball manufactures packaging for beverage, food and household products, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government.
"Our improved second-quarter and first-half results reflect the continued successful execution of our 'Drive for 10' strategy and our focus on returning value to our shareholders," said John A. Hayes, president and chief executive, in a press statement.
Ball cited increased demand for specialty packaging in the United States, especially for its 16-ounce Alumi-Tek bottle, which partially offset continued weaker demand for standard 12-ounce cans in North America. Longmont-based Oskar Blues Brewery LLC has been using the bottles to package some of its alcoholic products, and earlier this month announced that the Ball bottle also would be used for its home-brewed B.Stiff & Sons root beer.
"Our new beverage-can plants in China, Brazil and Vietnam will contribute favorably to our results during the second half of 2012," said Raymond J. Seabrook, executive vice president and chief operating officer for global packaging, in the press statement. "Emerging market and specialty can volume growth during the quarter offset flat volumes in North America and the financial impact of a lower euro."
Earnings for 2012 were comparable to those of last year for Ball Aerospace & Technology Corp., one of Boulder County's largest employers. The Boulder-based division reported second-quarter earnings of $20.2 million on sales of $210.3 million, compared with earnings of $21.7 million on sales of $199.9 million for the same quarter in 2011. For the first six months of 2012, operating earnings were $39.9 million on sales of $411.9 million, compared with $40.4 million on sales of $391.1 million during the same period last year. Backlog at the end of the quarter was $780.4 million.
During the quarter, the nonprofit B612 Foundation announced that Ball Aerospace will build a space telescope that will scan the solar system for asteroids posing a threat to Earth as part of the first privately-funded deep-space mission. Also during the quarter, Longmont-based DigitalGlobe Inc. (NYSE: DGI) announced continued government support for the Ball-built WorldView satellites through the end of August 2013.
"Full year 2012 free cash flow is now expected to be at least a half a billion dollars as we reduce growth capital spending plans to better align with recent global trends," said Scott C. Morrison, senior vice president and chief financial officer, in the press statement. "The majority of 2012 free cash flow is expected to be returned to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends."
"After a very good first half which was slightly above our expectations," Hayes said, "we remain on track to achieve our goal of 10 to 15 percent diluted earnings per share growth for the full year. We continue to anticipate a stronger second half compared to the first half of 2012 as new, emerging market plants contribute positively to our results, and the food and household and Brazilian businesses enter their busiest seasons."
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