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Ball Q4 Profit Declines, Despite Higher Sales - Update

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Metal packaging products supplier Ball Corp. (BLL: Quote) Thursday reported a decline in fourth-quarter profit, reflecting higher expenses, despite an increase in sales. Comparable earnings missed analysts' expectations. However, the company said it expects continued earnings improvement in 2013 amid existing challenges.

In the fourth quarter, net earnings attributable to the company declined to $60.6 million or $0.39 per share from $77.5 million or $0.47 per share in the previous year.

On a comparable basis, excluding items, net earnings were $0.64, while the company posted $0.48 per share in the prior year. On average, 12 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.66 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the quarter increased to $2.11 billion from $2.05 billion in the same quarter last year, and was in line with analysts' estimates.

Metal beverage packaging, Americas & Asia, net sales grew to $1.11 billion from $1.09 billion a year earlier. Metal beverage packaging, Europe sales were $437.4 million, down from $451 million last year.

Total costs and expenses advanced to $1.96 billion from $1.89 billion in the preceding year. John Hayes, president and chief executive officer of the company said, "We remain focused on striving to reach our long-term goal of 10 to 15 percent diluted earnings per share growth."

BLL closed Wednesday's regular trading at $45.93 on the NYSE.

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by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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Editors Pick
After coming under pressure in early trading, stocks have seen some further downside over the course of the trading day on Friday. With the losses on the day, the S&P 500 is pulling back well off the record closing high that it set in the previous session. After reporting an unexpected drop in new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods in the previous month, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing that durable goods orders rebounded by more than expected in the month of June. British economic growth remained high as expected in the second quarter as a robust expansion in the dominant service sector, and industry completely offset the slight weakness in the construction sector. With the second quarter expansion, GDP returned to its pre-crisis level. Gross domestic product grew 0.8 percent sequentially in the second quarter, the same rate as seen in the first quarter.
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