Ball reports mixed can packaging picture in Q3

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

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Ball Corporation has posted a slip in third quarter sales revenue from its European can sales revenue while its Americas & Asia division reported strong growth.

Total net sales in Q3 advanced some 12 per cent to $2.035bn but much of that growth was driven by the signing of significant new contracts in the aerospace business.

European business

On the packaging side of the business, beverage can sales in Europe retreated from $478m in 2009 to $442.3m in the latest quarter. Operating earning also dropped from $68.6m last year to $63.1m.

Ball said the European business suffered from a 10 per cent decline in currency translation in the quarter.

On a positive note, the US-based company said volumes improved compared to the equivalent quarter last year. And in particular, it said the recovery in the German beverage can market continues to progress.

Americas and Asia

Meanwhile, the Americas & Asia segment of the beverage can business reported a big increase in sales from $706.4m in Q3 2009 to the $1bn mark this year. Ball said the growth was driven by strong volumes from China and Brazil as well as increased demand for specialty cans in North America.

The operating earnings growth was slightly more muted, rising from $102.9m to $112.8 as margins were hit by certain one off costs, including notably, the consolidation of Latapack-Ball.

During Q3, Ball acquired an additional 10.1 per cent interest in Latapack-Ball, increasing its share in the Brazilian joint venture to 60.1 per cent.

Looking forward, Ball is planning to install a second production line in the US to meet growing demand for its Alumi-Tek bottles and its plant in Golden, Colorado, is due to begin making fully re-closable and recyclable bottles in the second half of 2011.

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