Ball 1Q Net Income Falls, Despite Revenue Increase

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) â¿¿ Container maker Ball Corp. said Thursday that its first-quarter net income fell 3 percent partly on refinancing costs, though its revenue edged up with increases in Europe and its aerospace unit that made up for a drop in metal packaging revenue in the Americas.

The adjusted earnings from Ball, which also makes aerospace products, primarily for the federal government, beat analysts' estimates, but its shares fell.

The Broomfield, Colo. company earned $88.3 million, or 55 cents per share, compared with $91.3 million, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier. It had fewer shares outstanding in the most recent period, and that bolstered its earnings per share.

Excluding refinancing costs and other one-time items, Ball said its adjusted earnings climbed to 63 cents per share from 58 cents per share.

That topped the 59 cents per share in adjusted earnings that analysts expected on average, according to Fact Set.

Revenue for the three months that ended April 1 rose 2 percent to $2.04 billion from $2.01 billion. Analysts expected $2.05 billion.

Revenue in the company's aerospace and technologies division climbed to $201.6 million from $191.2 million. Revenue from drink cans rose to $463 million from $443 million in Europe, while metal packaging revenue was flat at $1 billion in the Americas and Asia.

Ball maintained its forecast for a 10 percent to 15 percent increase in earnings per share in 2012 and beyond. This implies 2012 earnings of $2.89 to $3.02 per share.

Analysts predict full-year earnings of $2.73 per share.

On Wednesday, the company said it will pay a dividend of 10 cents per share on June 15 to shareholders of record as of June 1.

Ball's stock slipped $1.16, or 2.7 percent, to $41.84 by mid-afternoon. It has traded between $29.69 and $43.70 over the past year.

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