Crown Holdings Inc. (NYSE:CCK) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Apr 18, 2019 • 09:00 am ET
Good morning, and welcome to Crown Holdings' First Quarter 2019 Conference Call. Your lines have been placed on a listen-only mode until the question-and-answer session. Please be advised that this conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Thomas Kelly, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Sir, you may begin.
Thomas A. Kelly
Thank you, Christ and good morning. With me on today's call is Tim Donahue, President and Chief Executive Officer.
On this call, as in the earnings release, we will be making a number of forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary materially from such statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to vary is contained in the press release and in our SEC filings, including in our Form 10-K for 2018 and subsequent filings.
Earnings for the quarter were $0.77 per share compared to $0.67 in the prior year quarter. Comparable earnings per share increased to $1.5 in the quarter versus $0.94 in 2018. Net sales grew 25% in 2019 versus 2018, primarily due to the acquisition of the Transit Packaging business in April 2018 and increased beverage can volumes partially offset by $100 million of unfavorable currency translation.
Segment income in the quarter improved primarily due to the Signode acquisition, as higher global beverage can volumes were offset by lower European food can results and start-up costs at the two new beverage can plants in Europe. As outlined in the release, we estimate second quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of between $1.45 -- $1.43 to $1.53 per share. The reaffirmed full year adjusted earnings of between $5.20 and $5.40 per share.
These estimates assume exchange rates remain at their current levels and a full year tax rate of between 25% and 26%. Also consistent with our previous guidance, we currently estimate 2019 full year adjusted free cash flow of approximately $775 million with between $400 million and $425 million in capital spending. Net leverage at the end of 2019 is expected to be in the low 4s.
With that, I'll turn the call over to Tim.
Timothy J. Donahue
Thank you, Tom, and good morning to everyone. I'll be brief and then we'll open the call to questions.
As reflected in last night's release and as Tom just summarized, the first quarter was on plan and puts us directly on path to achieve free cash flow of $775 million for 2019. While results were mixed across the operating segments, food and beverage unit demand was up in most geographies, demonstrating the strong fundamentals across our global businesses. We have reviewed the progress on major projects underway or recently completed in the release, all of which are on the same timing as we described in February.
In a supplemental table to the release, we have provided a currency impact on sales and segment income by operating segment, so my comments will focus on currency neutral performance. In Americas Beverage sales units advanced 2.5% due to solid performances across Latin American operations with volumes in North