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BALL CORPORATION POSTS GAINS IN SALES, NET INCOME, EPS FOR FIRST QUARTER OF 1992

 BALL CORPORATION POSTS GAINS IN SALES,
 NET INCOME, EPS FOR FIRST QUARTER OF 1992
 MUNCIE, Ind., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL) today said first quarter net income rose 10 percent to $11.8 million from a year ago, and net earnings available to common shareholders increased 27 percent to $10.4 million. Earnings per share grew eight percent to 40 cents, while sales advanced 22 percent to $546.3 million.
 Delmont A. Davis, Ball's president and chief executive officer, said improved earnings largely reflect continued strong glass container operations and the reduced dividend resulting from retirement of preferred shares previously issued as a part of the Ball-InCon Glass Packaging Corp. acquisition. Glass operating earnings were enhanced as a result of the business acquired from Kerr Glass Manufacturing Corporation late in the quarter. On a per share basis, these improvements were partially offset by the dilutive effects of 3.2 million common shares issued in September 1991.
 Sales for the quarter were higher than the first quarter of 1991, in large part from the inclusion of sales of the Ball Packaging Products Canada, Inc. subsidiary and were enhanced by volume increases from the glass and domestic metal beverage container businesses. Davis said interpreting company performance on a year-to-year basis has been somewhat complicated, since Ball is now consolidating the 100 percent-owned Canadian operation, but reported it under the equity method in the first quarter of 1991 when it operated as a joint venture.
 "We are pleased with first quarter results, as well as our prospects for the remainder of the year," Davis said. "We're very encouraged with glass container operations. Our domestic metal container business had a strong March, and with expected continued volume increases should show improvement this year. Lower aluminum costs and increased manufacturing efficiencies are anticipated to offset the reduced level of pricing."
 A difficult salmon can market and depressed export prices to the U.S. accounted for unfavorable results from the business in Canada; however, total 1992 earnings are anticipated to be above 1991. Elsewhere in packaging, the U.S. metal decorating and service business reported lower results.
 Within aerospace and industrial products, the electro- optics/cryogenics and space systems divisions had improved earnings, and growth continued in commercial markets, consistent with the trend the company expects to see over the longer term. The plastics division experienced increased sales and plant performance; higher cadmium-free zinc battery can sales brought higher earnings for the zinc products division; and Unimark plastics, while under 1991 levels, had a stronger March and is now operating its Puerto Rico facility seven days a week on a three shift basis to meet demand for its injection molded products.
 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 (millions, except share data)
 Three Months Ended
 March 29, 1992 March 31, 1991
 Net sales $546.3 $447.4
 Costs and expenses 526.3 427.7
 Income before taxes on income 20.0 19.7
 Provision for taxes on income (7.2) (6.7)
 Minority interests (1.2) (0.7)
 Equity in earnings/(losses)
 of affiliates (A) 0.2 (1.6)
 Net income 11.8 10.7
 Preferred dividends (1.4) (2.5)
 Net earnings available
 to common shareholders $ 10.4 $ 8.2
 Net earnings per share $ .40 $ .37
 Fully diluted earnings per share $ .39 $ .36
 Weighted average shares
 outstanding (thousands) 25,803 22,108
 Fully diluted weighted average shares
 outstanding (thousands) 28,044 24,108
 (A) Ball Canada was included under the equity method on a 50 percent basis, until April 19, 1991, after which it is consolidated.
 -0- 4/28/92
 /CONTACT: Larry Miller, 317-747-6170, or at 317-286-5856 after hours; or Brad Wilks, 317-747-6165, or at 317-282-6198 after hours, both of Ball Corporation/
 (BLL) CO: Ball Corporation ST: Indiana IN: HOU SU: ERN


KK -- CL009 -- 3694 04/28/92 10:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 28, 1992
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