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BALL CORP. SAYS EARNINGS DOWN ON SALES GAINS FOR SECOND QUARTER AND FIRST HALF OF 1992

 BALL CORP. SAYS EARNINGS DOWN ON SALES GAINS
 FOR SECOND QUARTER AND FIRST HALF OF 1992
 MUNCIE, Ind., July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) today reported a 5.6 percent second quarter increase in sales, while net income, earnings available to common shareholders and earnings per share were lower than last year.
 Delmont A. Davis, president and chief executive officer, attributed the decrease in earnings to lower margins and a temporary shift in product mix in the company's glass business, reduced sales in several aerospace operations and an after-tax charge of $3 million or 12 cents per share for the anticipated cost to consolidate its plastic packaging operations, in which it recently acquired 100 percent ownership, into a single facility.
 For the quarter, net income of $20 million was 13 percent under a year ago, earnings available to common shareholders dropped 8.8 percent to $18.7 million and earnings per share of 72 cents were 21.7 percent lower than in 1991, in part reflecting dilution from the common shares issued late in September 1991. Sales grew to $674 million.
 On a six-month basis, earnings available to common shareholders increased 1.4 percent to $29.1 million, while net income of $31.8 million was 5.6 percent under a year ago and earnings per share of $1.12 were 13.2 percent lower. Six-month sales rose 12.4 percent to $1.2 billion.
 "It was a disappointing quarter," Davis said, "especially because of reduced margins in our glass container business due to competitive pricing, integration of the newly acquired Kerr business and lower current margins on a new contract in advance of facility reconfiguration to reduce manufacturing costs. There were some positives, as well. Our domestic metal container business, through cost reductions and productivity increases, had an increase in profitability on lower dollar sales; and the home canning product line had improved results."
 Davis said that while profitability in the glass container business was down, the operation was running at near capacity. "We had planned on running a different mix of containers during the quarter, especially in June, but market requirements pushed this production into the second half of the year. Results should benefit from this in the third or fourth quarters.
 "Growth in can shipments has been affected by cooler than normal temperatures during the period. Pricing continues to be very competitive; however, we've prided ourselves on being a low-cost producer of metal beverage containers and ends, and the unit cost reductions achieved to date have certainly worked to our advantage in the second quarter."
 The company's aerospace and industrial products segment had a modest improvement in sales, but lower operating earnings compared to last year's second quarter. "Most operations in this segment operated at or below last year's level," Davis said. "Losses incurred were primarily from introduction of a new product line in the visual imaging business, and from lower than anticipated results in the atomic oscillator product line due to a commercial customer's lost production while upgrading the product line using these oscillators. We expect some gains during the second half, and are focusing management on profit improvement.
 "I'm reasonably optimistic about the remainder of the year," Davis said. "Our core businesses are operating extremely well, and with business rationalizations in glass and plastics, and additional sales, they should be able to capitalize on their cost reduction efforts." Ball in 1991 had full-year net earnings per common share of $2.42 on sales of $2.3 billion.
 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 (millions, except share data)
 Three Months Ended
 6/28/92 6/30/91
 Net sales $ 674.0 $638.2
 Costs and expenses 641.1 602.1
 Income before taxes on income 32.9 36.1
 Provision for taxes on income (11.9) (12.7)
 Minority interests (1.1) (0.4)
 Equity in earnings/(losses)
 of affiliates .1 ---
 Net income 20.0 23.0
 Preferred dividends (1.3) (2.5)
 Net earnings available
 to common shareholders $ 18.7 $ 20.5
 Net earnings (loss) per share $ .72 $ .92
 Fully diluted earnings
 per share $ .69 $ .86
 Weighted average shares
 outstanding (thousands) 25,961 22,225
 Fully diluted weighted
 average shares
 outstanding (thousands) 28,141 24,332
 SIX MONTHS ENDED
 6/28/92 6/30/91
 Net sales $1,220.3 $1,085.6
 Costs and expenses 1,167.4 1,029.8
 Income before taxes on income 52.9 55.8
 Provision for taxes on income (19.1) (19.4)
 Minority interests (2.3) (1.1)
 Equity in earnings/(losses)
 of affiliates .3 (1.6)
 Net income 31.8 33.7
 Preferred dividends (2.7) (5.0)
 Net earnings available
 to common shareholders $ 29.1 $ 28.7
 Net earnings (loss) per share $ 1.12 $ 1.29
 Fully diluted earnings
 per share $ 1.07 $ 1.23
 Weighted average shares
 outstanding (thousands) 25,882 22,167
 Fully diluted weighted
 average shares
 outstanding (thousands) 28,101 24,277
 -0- 7/23/92 R
 /CONTACT: Larry Miller, 317-747-6170 or 317-286-5856 after hours; or Brad Wilks, 317-747-6165 or 317-282-6198 after hours, both of Ball Corporation/
 (BLL) CO: Ball Corporation ST: Indiana IN: HOU SU: ERN


KK -- CL006 -- 2351 07/23/92 09:54 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 23, 1992
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