AP News

Ball Corp. 3Q profit falls on plant closure costs


Can maker Ball Corp. said Thursday that its third-quarter net income fell 13 percent, hurt mainly by hefty costs related to the shutdown of plants in Ohio and Florida.

The Broomfield, Colo.-based company earned $115.1 million, or 73 cents per share, in the June to September period. That was down from $132.1 million, or 79 cents per share, in the 2011 third quarter.

A 6 percent reduction in the number of outstanding shares since last year gave a boost of about 4 cents to the earnings-per-share results.

Ball announced plans to shut down the plants in Ohio and Florida in August, part of a plan to consolidate its beverage can manufacturing business. Excluding costs related to those closures, the company said its adjusted profit was 90 cents per share for the recent quarter.

The adjusted profit beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected profit of 87 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 1 percent to $2.28 billion from $2.26 billion, slightly ahead of average analysts' predictions of $2.27 billion.

Revenue at the company's Americas and Asia metal beverage packaging business rose 3.9 percent to $1.17 billion, offsetting slight drops at its Europe metal beverage packaging business and Americas metal food and housing packaging business.

Ball said it remains focused on controlling its costs and remains on track to meet its previously set goal of earnings-per-share growth of between 10 percent and 15 percent.

Based on the company's 2011 earnings of $2.63 per share, the guidance projects 2012 earnings of $2.89 to $3.02 per share. Analysts expect $3.05 per share, with estimates ranging from $3 to $3.10.

Ball Corp. shares ended Wednesday trading at $41.93, up 17 percent since the start of the year.


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