Ball Corporation, the US-based can and plastic bottle maker, beat analysts' expectations in the second quarter by earning $49.8 million (€48.9m), according to a report in the Rocky Mountain News.
That compares with a net loss of $162 million in the second quarter last year. Ball's losses in 2001 came from a $195 million after-tax charge for restructuring its China packaging operations and disposing of two unprofitable aerospace lines.
"Higher operating margins throughout our business segments are fuelling our results," said David Hoover, Ball chairman and chief executive officer.
Ball's packaging division, comprising about 90 per cent of its sales, earned $89.4 million in the second quarter, against. a $170 million loss a year ago.
Its shipments of plastic bottles are up 44 per cent from a year ago, mainly because of the growing popularity of bottled water, Hoover said.
The company's joint venture signed last year with Coors Brewing to make 4.6 billion aluminium beer cans a year is also starting to take off, pushing beverage can sales up 2.5 per cent from last year.
Ball Packaging's chief operating officer Leon Midgett said the company had high expectations going forward, in part because of a $43 million food can project that was expected to come on line in Milwaukee early next year.
"We ought to see significant improvement in earnings next year" when the 1.2 billion can line begins operations, Midgett said.
Ball employs about 2,850 people in Colorado, US and 10,000 worldwide.