Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) today reported, on a U.S. GAAP basis, second quarter 2021 net earnings attributable to the corporation of $202 million (including net after-tax charges of $85 million, or 25 cents per diluted share for business consolidation and other non-comparable items), or 61 cents per diluted share, on sales of $3.5 billion, compared to $94 million net earnings attributable to the corporation, or 28 cents per diluted share (including net after-tax charges of $122 million, or 37 cents per diluted share for business consolidation and other non-comparable items), on sales of $2.8 billion in 2020. Results for the first six months of 2021 were net earnings attributable to the corporation of $402 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, on sales of $6.6 billion compared to $117 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, on sales of $5.6 billion for the first six months of 2020.
Ball’s second quarter and year-to-date 2021 comparable earnings per diluted share were 86 cents and $1.58, respectively, versus second quarter and year-to-date 2020 comparable earnings per diluted share of 65 cents and $1.26, respectively.
Details of comparable segment earnings, business consolidation activities, business segment descriptions and other non-comparable items can be found in the notes to the unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements that accompany this news release. References to volume data represent units shipped.
“During the quarter, the company increased comparable earnings per diluted share by 32% on 13% aluminum beverage volume growth and 20% aluminum aerosol growth, and secured new aerospace contracts to achieve record backlog. In addition to global operations executing at a high level, the company started up the new Pittston, Pennsylvania, beverage can manufacturing facility, initiated further global capacity investments and successfully launched The Aluminum Cup at retail in the United States. Global projects in North America, South America and EMEA are supported by long-term contracts and will contribute meaningfully to 2021 and beyond,” said John A. Hayes, chairman and chief executive officer.
“Our focus remains on our employees’ safety, training and development, the efficient startups of EVA-enhancing projects and opportunities to build optimal inventory to further improve operational efficiencies and customer service. Positive momentum continues across the entire company. Our recently announced 2030 sustainability goals and plans to expand the return of value to shareholders through higher dividends and share repurchases while deploying significant capital to increase the availability of sustainable aluminum packaging and best-in-class aerospace technologies will benefit our stakeholders in 2021 and beyond,” said Daniel W. Fisher, president.
Beverage Packaging, North and Central America
Beverage packaging, North and Central America, comparable segment operating earnings for the second quarter 2021 were $193 million on sales of $1.5 billion compared to $189 million on sales of $1.3 billion in 2020. For the first six months, comparable segment operating earnings were $333 million on sales of $2.8 billion compared to $335 million on sales of $2.4 billion during the same period in 2020. Year-over-year sales reflect higher shipments, the contractual pass through of higher aluminum costs and improved price/mix.
Second quarter comparable segment earnings reflect 5% volume growth, the benefits from new contractual terms and higher specialty mix largely offset by startup and labor costs associated with three new manufacturing plants and the impact of low finished goods inventory entering peak season.
Demand for aluminum beverage cans and bottles continues to outstrip supply across North America. The company’s new Glendale, Arizona, facility successfully started up its second and third lines during the quarter, and the new Pittston, Pennsylvania, facility started up initial beverage can production on two lines late in the second quarter. Project execution is on or above our targets and additional capacity investments in North America are supported by long duration contracts and will serve growing demand for aluminum beverage cans across all beverage categories.
The company’s new aluminum end manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is scheduled to begin production in the fourth quarter and full-year 2021 startup costs are still anticipated to be in the range of $50 million.
Beverage Packaging, EMEA
Beverage packaging, EMEA, comparable segment operating earnings for second quarter were $124 million on sales of $906 million compared to $63 million on sales of $699 million in 2020. For the first six months, comparable segment operating earnings were $224 million on sales of $1.7 billion compared to $131 million on sales of $1.4 billion during the same period in 2020. Year-over-year sales reflect higher shipments, the contractual pass through of higher aluminum costs and favorable foreign exchange.
Second quarter comparable segment earnings reflect 18% segment volume growth, specialty mix and strong year-over-year consumption trends across Europe. Packaging mix shift to sustainable aluminum cans for traditional and non-traditional beverages continues, and demand is outstripping supply. In addition to 2021 beverage can line investments across the region, the company recently announced its intention to build two new beverage can manufacturing facilities in the U.K. and Russia with production anticipated to begin in 2023. Line speed ups and greenfield projects are largely on track and will support growing demand for aluminum beverage cans in 2021 and beyond.
Beverage Packaging, South America
Beverage packaging, South America, comparable segment operating earnings for second quarter were $78 million on sales of $452 million compared to $46 million on sales of $329 million in 2020. For the first six months, comparable segment operating earnings were $171 million on sales of $939 million compared to $109 million on sales of $734 million during the same period in 2020. Year-over-year sales reflect higher shipments, the contractual pass through of higher aluminum costs and improved mix.
Segment volume ended the quarter up 15% and second quarter earnings also reflect favorable price/mix and solid operating performance across South America. In Brazil, demand remains strong and continues to outstrip supply despite COVID-19 related restrictions and cooler than anticipated weather.
To support long-term contracted volume growth and can-filling investments across South America, multiple can manufacturing investments are ongoing across our existing footprint in 2021 and beyond. The previously announced multi-line facility in Frutal, Brazil, is on schedule to begin production in the second half of 2021.
Aerospace comparable segment operating earnings for the second quarter were $34 million on sales of $459 million compared to $30 million on sales of $438 million in 2020. For the first six months, comparable segment operating earnings were $69 million on sales of $883 million compared to $70 million on sales of $870 million during the same period in 2020. Contracted backlog ended the quarter at $3 billion and contracts won, but not yet booked into contracted backlog was $5.1 billion.
Segment results reflect moderation in the inefficiencies created from certain customer supply-chain disruptions. The company continues to win defense, climate change and Earth-monitoring contracts to provide mission-critical programs and technologies to U.S. government, defense, intelligence, and reconnaissance and surveillance customers. New contracts booked late in the second quarter are anticipated to ramp quickly and full-year earnings remain on track to grow double-digits. Hiring to support future growth and multiple projects to expand manufacturing capacity, test capabilities, engineering, and support workspace remain on track.
In addition to undistributed corporate expenses, the results for the company’s global aluminum aerosol business, beverage can manufacturing facilities in India, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar and investments in the company’s new aluminum cup business continue to be reported in other non-reportable.
Second quarter and year-to-date results reflect higher year-over-year undistributed corporate expenses and marketing costs associated with the aluminum cup national retail launch. During the quarter, the company’s global aluminum aerosol volumes increased 20% versus 2020, and customers continue to pursue sustainable personal care packaging solutions including the company’s new Infinity aluminum bottle.
“The company is well-positioned for long-term growth and we recently accelerated return of value to shareholders in 2021 by increasing our dividend 33% and initiating share repurchases of at least $500 million. Our financial strength and flexibility provide the opportunity to return value to shareholders while also investing in excess of $1.5 billion in capital expenditures to further grow cash from operations, earnings and EVA dollars. We look forward to investing in more organic growth opportunities and returning even more to our shareholders in the future as our cash from operations continues to accelerate,” said Scott C. Morrison, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
“We continue to perform at a high level despite certain transitory inefficiencies and costs. Our talented team, Drive for 10 vision, enduring culture, capital allocation discipline and strong demand for our sustainable packaging and technologies will enable our long-term growth. In 2021 and beyond, we look forward to growing our cash from operations and EVA dollars on an even larger capital base while returning capital to our shareholders and exceeding our long-term diluted earnings per share growth goal of at least 10 to 15%,” Hayes said.