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Ball (BLL)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 26, 2012 11:00 am ET


John A. Hayes - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Scott C. Morrison - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Raymond J. Seabrook - Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Global Packaging Operations


George L. Staphos - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Ghansham Panjabi - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Phil M. Gresh - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Philip Ng - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Adam J. Josephson - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Scott Gaffner - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Mark Wilde - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Philip Terpolilli - Longbow Research LLC

Albert T. Kabili - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Alex Ovshey Ovshey - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Christopher D. Manuel - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Todd Wenning - Morningstar Inc., Research Division

Chip A. Dillon - Vertical Research Partners Inc.



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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Ball Corporation's Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Thursday, July 26, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to John Hayes, CEO. Please go ahead, sir.

John A. Hayes

Thank you, Jennifer, and good morning, everyone. This is Ball Corporation's conference call regarding the company's second quarter 2012 results. The information provided during this call will contain forward-looking statements. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those that may be expressed or implied. Some factors that could cause the results or outcomes to differ are in the company's latest 10-Q and in other company SEC filings, as well as company news releases. If you don't already have our earnings release, it's available on our website at Information regarding the use of non-GAAP financial measures may also be found on our website.

Now joining me on the call today are Scott Morrison, our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Ray Seabrook, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Global Packaging.

In a moment, Scott will discuss our financial results for the quarter. Ray will follow up with details about our packaging operating performance, and I'll close with comments on aerospace and the outlook for the second half of 2012.

Today, Ball reported second quarter 2012 results slightly ahead of last year's results. Recall that we had mentioned in April that our first half results would be relatively flat as compared to the first half of 2011. And today, we performed slightly better than we expected. Our Drive for 10 levers include maximizing the value of our existing businesses, broadening our geographic reach, expanding into new products and capabilities, aligning ourselves with the right customers and markets, and leveraging our technology expertise to create competitive advantage.

During the quarter, we made progress in all of these. And several highlights include new metal beverage container plants in Qingdao, China. Alagoinhas, Brazil and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam all began production in the second quarter, further broadening our geographic reach. The Alumi-Tek reclosable bottle continued to add to its customer portfolio as we expanded this product in the new end markets including craft beer and CSD. In fact, year-to-date, our total specialty can portfolio in North America grew approximately 24%.

Ball Aerospace is leveraging its technological expertise. The B5 12 Foundation recently announced that Ball Aerospace will build a space telescope named Sentinel, which will scan the solar system for asteroids poising a threat to Earth. This will be the first privately-funded deep-space mission. And in addition to this, we want additional work that will soon be included in our backlog, highlighting the growth of this business despite an uncertain funding environment. We continue to make good progress in all 5 of our Drive for 10 strategic levers. And while we wish our end markets were just a little bit more robust, 2012 is progressing just as we expected.

I'll turn it over to Scott to talk about the quarter, and then Ray will provide color on our operations. I'll return with comments on our aerospace business and the outlook for 2012.


Scott C. Morrison

Thanks, John. Ball's comparable diluted earnings per share from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2012 were $0.89 versus last year's $0.85. The following factors contributed favorably to the second quarter results: higher volumes in Brazil and China, as well as continued growth in specialty can volumes; solid program performance in aerospace business; a lower effective tax rate and a lower share count. FX translation negatively impacted the second quarter by $0.04. For a complete summary of the second quarter results on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis, please refer to the Notes section of today's earnings release.

Recapping the key financial metrics for 2012, interest expense will remain the same at approximately $175 million. Taking into account certain tax benefits achieved in the first half of the year, the full year 2012 effective tax rate is projected to be around 29%, so the tax rate in the remaining 2 quarters of 2012 will run closer to 32%.

Given recent global growth trends, full year 2012 CapEx is now anticipated to be in the range of $350 million. With the change in CapEx and some improvements in working capital, we now expect 2012 free cash flow to be at least $0.5 billion, with most of the free cash flow being returned to shareholders through share repurchases. Year to date, we have repurchased approximately $275 million of our stock. At current exchange rates, year-end net debt is expected to be approximately $3 billion, roughly flat versus 2011.

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