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$BLL General Update: Ball Corporation announced today that it has commenced an underwritten public offering of approx. $1Bil in aggregate principal amount of Senior Notes due 2025. The exact terms and timing of the offering will depend upon market conditions and other factors.
$BLL said it will cease food can production at the company's Springdale, Arkansas, tinplate food and aerosol packaging manufacturing plant during 4Q17. The Springdale plant will continue to produce and assemble aerosol cans, cut and coat flat sheet steel, and produce components used by other Ball food and aerosol facilities.
Packaging solutions provider $BLL said it will stop food can production at its packaging manufacturing plant in Akansas during 4Q17, due to dwindling demand. The company will be using its remaining plant resources for the aerosol business. Employees affected by the restructuring will be provided benefits.
$BLL said it will cease production at its Birmingham, Alabama, Chatsworth, California, and Longview, Texas, beverage packaging plants in 2018. $BLL will also begin construction on a new, state-of-the-art beverage packaging facility in Goodyear, Arizona, which is expected to begin production in 2Q18.
$BLL has closed a purchase agreement with The Prudential Insurance Company of America for a group annuity contract that will transfer payment responsibility liabilities for retirement pension benefits owed to approx. 11,000 Ball and Rexam retirees in the U.S. Through this, Ball will cut its projected pension benefit obligation by approx. $220MM.
$BLL announced an agreement to repurchase approx. $100MM of its outstanding common stock in a privately negotiated accelerated stock repurchase transaction. The company is repurchasing the outstanding common stock with Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, using cash on hand and available borrowings.
$BLL still expects 2017 free cash flow of $750-850MM after capital spending of about $500MM. $BLL remains on pace to deliver on its free cash flow, EVA dollar growth, EPS growth and cost savings targets for 2017 and beyond. $BLL looks forward to returning additional value to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and higher dividends.
$BLL swung to a profit in 1Q17 from loss last year, on higher revenue. Net income was $68MM or $0.38 per share compared to a loss of $127MM or $0.90 per share in 1Q16. Sales grew to $2.47Bil from $1.76Bil. Comparable EPS increased to $0.76 from $0.59, on higher global beverage and aerosol can demand and beverage container purchase.
$BLL appointed Carlos Medeiros as president, Beverage Packaging North and Central America, and promoted Carlos Eduardo Pires to president, Beverage Packaging South America. Medeiros succeeds Daniel Fisher, who was promoted to COO, global beverage packaging in late 2016.
$BLL's BoD announced a 2-for-1 split of common stock and lifted quarterly cash dividend by 54% to 10 cents on post-split basis. The distribution date for stock split will be May 16, in form of 100% stock dividend, to shareholders of record on May 8, 2017. The post-split dividend is payable on June 15 to shareholders of record on June 1, 2017.
$BLL announced the sale of its paint and general line can manufacturing facility in Hubbard, Ohio, to U.S.-based BWAY Corp. The Hubbard plant employs about 70 people and manufactures a variety of tinplate paint and general line cans. $BLL acquired the plant in 2006 as part of the company's acquisition of U.S. Can Corp.
$BLL received a contract from NASA for continued spacecraft operations support for the NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite. The sole source contract has a maximum ordering period of five years beginning March 7, 2017.
$BLL's contracted backlog at the end of FY16 was $1.4Bil. To support growth in the business, including the YoY doubling of the contracted backlog, the company will expand its Westminster, Colorado, aerospace manufacturing center during 2017.
$BLL said Erik Bouts is leaving the company at the end of December and that Daniel W. Fisher has been named SVP and COO, Global Beverage Packaging. The company expects to announce a successor for the Beverage Packaging North and Central America leadership position during 1Q17.