Ball shares fall on 1Q earnings miss

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (AP) — Metal packaging and aerospace company Ball Corp. said Thursday its first quarter net income fell more than 18 percent, hurt by lower volume and costs related to consolidating some factories.

The company said the lower-than-expected first-quarter results make it “unlikely” it will meet its goal of 10 to 15 percent earnings-per-share growth in 2013. It shares fell about 4 percent.

Ball announced plans in August to shut down the plants in Ohio and Florida, part of a move to consolidate its beverage-can manufacturing business. In February, it said it would end production at its food and aerosol packaging plant in Elgin, Ill., by December.

CEO John A. Hayes said “solid” performance in most of Ball’s packaging business, despite lower volume, was offset by weakness in its European beverage container business.

Net income after paying preferred dividends for the January-to-March quarter fell to $ 72 million, or 47 cents per share. That compares with $ 88.3 million or 55 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. Excluding one-time items, net income was 58 cents per share, short of the 64 cents per share analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Revenue fell 2.5 percent to $ 1.99 billion from $ 2.04 billion last year. Analysts expected revenue of $ 2.1 billion.

In the Americas and Asia, metal beverage sales was down 5 percent to $ 995.2 million, as strong demand for specialty packaging in North America helped offset a double-digit 12-ounce volume decline in the quarter. In Europe, metal beverage revenue fell 3 percent to $ 402.9 million, hurt by volume declines and higher costs.

Metal food and household products packaging revenue fell 3 percent to $ 367.2 million. Revenue from aerospace and technologies clients rose 15 percent to $ 231.4 million.

Shares fell $ 1.99, or 4.2 percent, to $ 45.35 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $ 38.39 and $ 48.50 over the past 52 weeks.

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Philips first quarter profits fall as sales slip

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Royal Philips NV, the maker of lights, consumer appliances and health-care equipment, on Monday reported a fall in first quarter profit due to weak sales and because last year’s figures included one-time gains.

Philips’ first-quarter net profit of 162 million euros ($ 212 million) was down from 183 million euros in the same period of 2012, when it enjoyed 119 million euros worth of one-time gains, notably from the sale of its Senseo coffee maker brand. Sales fell 1 percent to 5.26 billion euros.

“We reiterate our view of a slow first half to 2013, due to adverse market trends, especially in Europe and the U.S.,” said Chief Executive Frans van Houten in a statement.

It managed to increase its underlying profit margins, but only thanks to cost cuts.

Philips said weak construction activity was hurting its lighting division, though LED light sales were up 38 percent as the new technology continues to replace traditional incandescent bulbs. Philips is the largest maker of lights by sales.

The company said orders for its healthcare equipment were also weak, particularly in North America, where sales fell by more 10 percent on hospital budget cuts and new orders declined.

Consumer appliances such as electric shavers and coffee makers did better, with sales up 9 percent. Van Houten attributed that to the company’s strategy of tailoring its product offerings to individual markets.

By geography, sales fell 2 percent in developed markets, which account for two-thirds of sales. They increased by 2 percent in developing countries, which Philips calls “growth” markets.

Shares fell 2.2 percent to 21.19 euros in early Amsterdam trading.

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Philips sales, earnings fall in Q1

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Royal Philips NV, the maker of lights, home appliances and health-care equipment, has reported lower first quarter earnings due to weak sales and one-time gains in the same period a year ago. The company said its underlying margins have improved due to cutting costs.

Net profit was 162 million euros ($ 212 million), from 183 million euros in the first quarter of 2012, when the company had 172 million in one-time gains, notably from the sale of its Senseo coffee maker brand. Companywide sales fell by 1 percent to 5.26 billion euros.

“We reiterate our view of a slow first half to 2013, due to adverse market trends, especially in Europe and the U.S.,” said chief executive Frans van Houten in a statement.

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AMR trims 1Q loss as labor costs fall

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines parent AMR Corp. reported a smaller loss for the first quarter than a year ago on slightly higher revenue and much lower labor costs.

AMR said Thursday that it lost $ 341 million, compared with a loss of $ 1.66 billion a year earlier.

The nation’s third-largest airline said that it would’ve earned $ 8 million excluding costs of its bankruptcy restructuring. The first quarter is the weakest of the year for airlines, and this marked AMR’s first adjusted profit in the period since 2007.

“A modest first quarter profit shows that we are off and running for the year,” CEO Tom Horton said in an interview.

Revenue rose 1 percent to $ 6.1 billion. Labor costs declined 17 percent as American cut jobs. Horton said the company’s bankruptcy restructuring made its costs competitive with other airlines.

AMR is in the process of merging with US Airways and emerging from bankruptcy protection. If antitrust regulators approve the merger, the combined airline will be the biggest in the world.

Once that deal is done, mergers will have reduced eight big U.S. airline companies to four. At the same time, airlines have limited the supply of seats, which helps boost prices. American enjoyed it highest average fare per mile ever in the January-March period.

American’s on-time performance improved in the first quarter. But it suffered a setback this week with a computer-systems breakdown that caused massive delays and cancellations Tuesday and Wednesday. Horton took to YouTube to apologize to customers, and blamed the outage on a “software issue.” He declined to be much more specific Thursday.

“We do understand the cause of the failure,” Horton said. “We’re continuing to investigate and do further testing, but we have a high degree of confidence that situation won’t recur.”

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ASML 3Q earnings fall, names new CEO

AMSTERDAM (AP) — ASML Holding NV, the largest equipment supplier to semiconductor makers such as Intel Corp. and Samsung Inc., reported a 51 percent fall in first quarter earnings — in line with its own forecasts — and said CFO Peter Wennink will replace CEO Eric Meurice in July.

Meurice, who has been in the top job since October 2004, will remain as chairman through March 2014.

Net profit was 156 million euros ($ 206 million), down from 317 euros million in the same period a year ago. Sales fell 29 percent to 892 euros million. ASML said chipmakers are preparing for the next generation of chips for mobile phones and memory chip prices are rising, which will lead to sales increases. It forecast sales of 1.1 billion euros in the second quarter.

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