Sizzling Ball beats Wall Street’s expectations

May 2: Leading canmaker Ball Corporation exceeded Wall Street expectations with first-quarter results well up on last year and drinks can business driving its sizzling performance.
Sales were up by 23 percent to US$1.69 billion and profits up 83 percent to $81 million said chief executive David Hoover, who added they were records for the company, which makes beverage cans, food cans, general line products such as aerosols and paint cans, and PET bottles. It is the largest manufacturer of drinks cans in North America.
Ball’s strong results follow similarly impressive figures from Crown Holdings. Strongest sector was beverage cans. Sales were up 15 percent to $1.02 billion and profits up 70 percent to $139 million.
“We have begun working off the aluminum sheet inventories we had on hand at the end of 2006,” Hoover said, “and we expect to be back to more normal levels of inventory by the third quarter. That will greatly improve our free cash flow in this segment over 2006 levels.”
“We also are benefiting from lower energy costs compared to a year ago and from the improvements we are realizing in our project to upgrade and streamline our beverage can end manufacturing processes,” Hoover said. “We do not expect that capital project to be finished until 2008, but the efficiencies we are seeing are helping improve results now as we expect to produce approximately 12.5 billion ends this year using the new processes.”
“Ball has annual sales of $6.6 billion a year.