Ball shares fall on 1Q earnings miss

Ball shares fall as 1st quarter net income falls 18 percent, missing expectations.

Associated Press

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) -- Metal packaging and aerospace company Ball Corp. said Thursday its first quarter net income fell more than 18 percent, hurt by lower volume and costs related to consolidating some factories.

The company said the lower-than-expected first-quarter results make it "unlikely" it will meet its goal of 10 to 15 percent earnings-per-share growth in 2013. It shares fell about 4 percent.

Ball announced plans in August to shut down the plants in Ohio and Florida, part of a move to consolidate its beverage-can manufacturing business. In February, it said it would end production at its food and aerosol packaging plant in Elgin, Ill., by December.

CEO John A. Hayes said "solid" performance in most of Ball's packaging business, despite lower volume, was offset by weakness in its European beverage container business.

Net income after paying preferred dividends for the January-to-March quarter fell to $72 million, or 47 cents per share. That compares with $88.3 million or 55 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. Excluding one-time items, net income was 58 cents per share, short of the 64 cents per share analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Revenue fell 2.5 percent to $1.99 billion from $2.04 billion last year. Analysts expected revenue of $2.1 billion.

In the Americas and Asia, metal beverage sales was down 5 percent to $995.2 million, as strong demand for specialty packaging in North America helped offset a double-digit 12-ounce volume decline in the quarter. In Europe, metal beverage revenue fell 3 percent to $402.9 million, hurt by volume declines and higher costs.

Metal food and household products packaging revenue fell 3 percent to $367.2 million. Revenue from aerospace and technologies clients rose 15 percent to $231.4 million.

Shares fell $1.99, or 4.2 percent, to $45.35 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $38.39 and $48.50 over the past 52 weeks.

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