The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Ball met expectations on revenues and missed expectations on earnings per share.
Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue expanded slightly, and GAAP earnings per share grew significantly.
Margins contracted across the board.
Ball logged revenue of $2.05 billion. The seven analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see net sales of $2.06 billion. Sales were 2.8% higher than the prior-year quarter's $2.00 billion.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions.
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.48. The 10 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.53 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.79 for Q4 were 8.8% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.52 per share.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Figures may be non-GAAP to maintain comparability with estimates.
For the quarter, gross margin was 17.0%, 80 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 8.3%, 50 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 3.8%, 80 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.03 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.59.
Next year's average estimate for revenue is $8.87 billion. The average EPS estimate is $3.10.
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 239 members out of 250 rating the stock outperform, and 11 members rating it underperform. Among 94 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 92 give Ball a green thumbs-up, and two give it a red thumbs-down.
Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Ball is outperform, with an average price target of $41.40.
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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.