BROOMFIELD — Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL), a Broomfield-based metal-packaging manufacturer with a major aerospace division, posted fourth quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $0.71, which beat Wall Street estimates of $0.68 and improved nearly 30 percent over the same period in 2018.
Full fiscal year earnings per share were $2.53, up 15 percent over the prior year.
While earnings were higher than expected, Ball’s Q4 revenues of about $2.7 billion were slightly off from the Q4 2018 figure of $2.8 billion and Zachs Consensus Estimate of nearly $2.9 billion.
“We finished 2019 on a strong note, with fourth quarter comparable operating earnings increasing 14 percent, comparable earnings per diluted share increasing 29 percent and stronger than expected cash flow generation being driven by working capital improvements across most of our businesses,” Ball CEO John Hayes said in a prepared statement. “… We are building our future today. Managing the growth in our existing businesses, being the sustainability leader, enabling the go-to-market strategy for our new aluminum cups business, and executing our disciplined capital allocation strategy is an exciting way to embark on 2020 and beyond.”
Highlights of Ball’s Q4 earnings report included:
Global beverage can volumes were up 5 percent in 2019, however “cost savings were partially offset by previously disclosed unfavorable U.S. aluminum scrap rates and customer mix, as well as operational costs from newly commissioned production lines to support tight market conditions.,” Ball reported. “… In 2020, benefits from new customer contracts, mitigation of U.S. aluminum scrap headwinds, operational efficiency improvements and increased availability of cans are expected to add significantly to year-over-year results.”
Ball’s aerospace segment posted full-year 2019 operating earnings of $140 million on sales of $1.5 billion, up from $113 million on sales of $1.2 billion in 2018.
“Program execution remains strong across the business and the company hired more than 1,000 people in 2019. Multiple projects to expand office space, manufacturing capacity and test capabilities are on track,” the company reported. “In 2020 and beyond, the larger labor base will execute on a broad base of defense, civil, climate monitoring and weather prediction contracts leading segment comparable operating earnings to grow on a full-year basis for the foreseeable future.”