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Ball Corp (BLL) to Report Q1 Earnings: What's in the Offing?

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·5 min read
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Ball Corporation BLL is scheduled to report first-quarter 2021 results on May 6, before the opening bell.

Q4 Performance

In the fourth quarter, Ball Corp reported a year-over-year improvement in both earnings and revenues, reflecting solid global beverage-can demand and backlog growth in the Aerospace segment. The company also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both counts.

The company beat estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 8.8%.

Ball Corporation Price and EPS Surprise

Ball Corporation Price and EPS Surprise
Ball Corporation Price and EPS Surprise

Ball Corporation price-eps-surprise | Ball Corporation Quote

Q1 Estimates

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter earnings per share is pegged at 67 cents, suggesting growth of 9.8% from the prior-year quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for total sales stands at $3.12 billion, indicating an improvement of 12% from the year-ago reported figure.

Price Performance

Shares of Ball Corp have gained 40.7% in the past year, compared with the industry's rally of 48.2%.

Factors to Note

Ball Corp provides key aluminum packaging products and services to consumer-oriented end-markets, such as food and beverages, household and healthcare. Demand has been robust amid the pandemic. Moreover, the company has been gaining from strong global beverage-can demand as consumers now prefer cans over glass and plastic. These factors might have favored the first-quarter performance. The company has been focused on improving efficiency and reducing costs. These initiatives might have driven the company’s margin in the to-be-reported quarter.

The Beverage packaging, North and Central America segment is projected to generate sales of $1,294 million in the first quarter, suggesting a 10% year-over-year increase. Segment operating income is projected at $146 million, flat compared with the prior-year quarter. Operational efficiency, new customer contracts and solid demand for aluminum beverage packaging are likely to have benefited the segment in the quarter to be reported.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the Beverage packaging, South America segment’s net sales is pegged at $450 million, suggesting growth of 11% from the year-ago reported figure. This reflects demand for beverage cans. The segment’s operating income stands at $78 million, indicating year-over-year improvement of 24%.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the Beverage packaging, Europe segment’s sales stands at $753 million for the to-be-reported quarter, indicating an improvement of 13% from the prior-year quarter. The segment’s operating income is projected at $85 million, suggesting growth of 25% year over year. Customers’ growing preferences for cans and investment in incremental capacity in the company’s existing facilities may have contributed to the segment’s performance in the quarter under review.

The Aerospace segment’s contracted backlog remained strong at $2.4 billion as of fourth-quarter 2020 end. Program execution remains at a high level across the business. The segment continues to win and provide mission-critical programs and technologies to U.S. government, defense, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance customers. This is likely to get reflected in the segment’s first quarter top line. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the Aerospace segment's revenues is pegged at $484 million for the quarter under review, indicating year-over-year improvement of about 12%. The segment’s operating income is projected at $45 million, suggesting year-over-year growth of 13%.

The company might have incurred higher-than-expected start-up costs due to the ongoing capacity expansion efforts to meet growing demand for cans. Further, incremental costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic may have dampened near-term price/mix. Ball Corp has been importing cans to meet demand until its new plants ramp up, which might have led to higher freight costs. These factors may have weighed on margins in the quarter to be reported.

What the Zacks Model Unveils

Our proven model does not conclusively predict an earnings beat for Ball Corp this season. The combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) increases the odds of a positive surprise. But that’s not the case here. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Earnings ESP: Ball Corp has an Earnings ESP of -4.95%.

Zacks Rank: Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Stocks Worth a Look

Here are some Industrial Products stocks worth considering as these have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat in their upcoming releases:

The Middleby Corporation MIDD has an Earnings ESP of +0.39% and a Zacks Rank #2, at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Welbilt, Inc. WBT has a Zacks Rank of 2 and an Earnings ESP of +92.31%, at present.

IIVI Incorporated IIVI, currently a Zacks #3 Ranked stock, has an Earnings ESP of +9.09%.

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