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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D. C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018

 

☐ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from                                  to                                 

 

Commission File Number 001-07349

 

Ball Corporation

 

 

 

 

State of Indiana

 

35-0160610

(State or other jurisdiction of

 

(I.R.S. Employer

incorporation or organization)

 

Identification No.)

 

 

 

 

 

10 Longs Peak Drive, P.O. Box 5000

 

 

Broomfield, Colorado

 

80021-2510

(Address of registrant’s principal executive office)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:  (303) 469-3131

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

 

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, without par value

 

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:  NONE

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  YES ☒  NO ☐

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  YES ☐  NO ☒

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  YES ☒  NO ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months.  YES ☒  NO ☐

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ☒

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large accelerated filer ☒

 

Accelerated filer ☐

 

Non-accelerated filer ☐

 

Smaller reporting company ☐

Emerging growth company ☐

 

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).  YES ☐  NO ☒

 

The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $12.3 billion based upon the closing market price and common shares outstanding as of June 30, 2018.

 

Number of shares and rights outstanding as of the latest practicable date.

 

 

 

 

Class

 

Outstanding at February 20, 2019

 

 

 

Common Stock, without par value

 

334,338,125 shares

 

 

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

1.Proxy statement to be filed with the Commission within 120 days after December 31, 2018, to the extent indicated in Part III.

 

 

 

 


 

Table of Contents

Ball Corporation

ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

For the year ended December 31, 2018

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page Number

 

 

 

PART I. 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1. 

Business

1

Item 1A. 

Risk Factors

7

Item 1B. 

Unresolved Staff Comments

16

Item 2. 

Properties

16

Item 3. 

Legal Proceedings

18

Item 4. 

Mine Safety Disclosures

18

 

 

 

PART II. 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5. 

Market for the Registrant’s Common Stock and Related Stockholder Matters

19

Item 6. 

Selected Financial Data

21

Item 7. 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

23

 

   Forward-Looking Statements

36

Item 7A. 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

36

Item 8. 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

38

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

38

 

Consolidated Statements of Earnings for the Years Ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 

40

 

Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Earnings (Loss) for the Years Ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016

41

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets at December 31, 2018, and December 31, 2017

42

 

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the Years Ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016

43

 

Consolidated Statements of Shareholders’ Equity for the Years Ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016

44

 

Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

45

Item 9. 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

120

Item 9A. 

Controls and Procedures

120

Item 9B. 

Other Information

120

 

 

 

PART III. 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10. 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance of the Registrant

121

Item 11. 

Executive Compensation

121

Item 12. 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management

122

Item 13. 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions

122

Item 14. 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

122

 

 

 

PART IV. 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15. 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

123

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

127

 

Signatures

128

 

 

 

 

 


 

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PART I.

 

Item 1. Business

 

Ball Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries (collectively, Ball, the company, we or our) is one of the world’s leading suppliers of metal packaging to the beverage, personal care and household products industries. The company was organized in 1880 and incorporated in the state of Indiana, United States of America (U.S.), in 1922. Our packaging products are produced for a variety of end uses and are manufactured in facilities around the world. We also provide aerospace and other technologies and services to governmental and commercial customers within our aerospace segment. In 2018, our total consolidated net sales were $12 billion. Our packaging businesses were responsible for 90 percent of our net sales, with the remaining 10 percent contributed by our aerospace business.

 

Our largest product line is aluminum beverage containers. We also produce aerosol containers, extruded aluminum aerosol containers and aluminum slugs.

 

We sell our packaging products mainly to large multinational beverage, personal care and household products companies with which we have developed long-term relationships. This is evidenced by our high customer retention and large number of long-term supply contracts. While we have a diversified customer base, we sell a significant portion of our packaging products to major companies and brands, as well as to numerous regional customers. Our significant customers include: The Coca-Cola Company and its affiliated bottlers, Anheuser-Busch InBev n.v./s.a., Molson Coors Brewing Company and Unilever N.V.

 

Our aerospace business is a leader in the design, development and manufacture of innovative aerospace systems for civil, commercial and national cyber security aerospace markets. It produces spacecraft, instruments and sensors, radio frequency systems and components, data exploitation solutions and a variety of advanced aerospace technologies and products that enable deep space missions.

 

We are headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, and our stock is listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BLL.

 

Our Strategy

 

Our overall business strategy is defined by our Drive for 10 vision, which at its highest level, is a mindset around perfection, with a greater sense of urgency around our future success. Launched in 2011, our Drive for 10 vision encompasses five strategic levers that are key to growing our businesses and achieving long-term success. These five levers are:

 

·

Maximizing value in our existing businesses

·

Expanding into new products and capabilities

·

Aligning ourselves with the right customers and markets

·

Broadening our geographic reach and

·

Leveraging our know-how and technological expertise to provide a competitive advantage

 

We also maintain a clear and disciplined financial strategy focused on improving shareholder returns through:

 

·

Seeking to deliver comparable diluted earnings per share growth of 10 percent to 15 percent per annum over the long-term

·

Maximizing free cash flow generation

·

Increasing Economic Value Added (EVA®) dollars

 

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The cash generated by our businesses is used primarily: (1) to finance the company’s operations, (2) to fund strategic capital investments, (3) to service the company’s debt and (4) to return value to our shareholders via stock buy-backs and dividend payments. From time to time, we have evaluated and expect to continue to evaluate possible transactions that we believe will benefit the company and our shareholders, which may include strategic acquisitions, divestitures of parts of our company or joint ventures. At any time we may be engaged in discussions or negotiations with respect to possible transactions or may have entered into non-binding letters of intent. There can be no assurance if or when we will enter into any such transactions or the terms of such transactions. The compensation of many of our employees is tied directly to the company’s performance through our EVA®-based incentive programs.

 

Sustainability

 

Sustainability is a key part of our business strategy at Ball. By enhancing the unique sustainability credentials of our products along their life cycles, we position our metal containers as the most sustainable packaging choice and help our customers grow their businesses. Aluminum is an infinitely recyclable material. It also has the highest scrap value of all commonly used packaging substrates. These qualities make cans an increasingly attractive option for sustainability-conscious consumers and brands who acknowledge that metal packaging is a true enabler of a circular economy in terms of economic value, recyclability, real recycling and the avoidance of down cycling.  In 2017, Resource Recycling Systems recognized aluminum beverage cans as the most recycled beverage package in the world, with a global weighted average recycling rate for aluminum of 69 percent. This finding solidifies the aluminum can as the leader in real recycling, where the package is collected and then transformed into an item of equal value (product to product or material to material recycling). In comparison, only 43 percent of PET and 46 percent of glass bottles were collected for recycling, although not necessarily recycled.

 

In some of Ball’s markets such as Brazil, China and several European countries, recycling rates for aluminum beverage cans are at or above 90 percent. The most recently available recycling rates for aluminum beverage cans are 97 percent in Brazil in 2017, 74 percent in Europe in 2015, and 49 percent in the U.S. in 2016.

 

We focus our sustainability efforts on product stewardship, operational excellence, talent management and community engagement. In our global operations, we work on continuous improvement of employee safety, energy and water efficiency, waste generation and air emissions.

 

Because metal recycling saves resources and uses significantly less energy than primary metal production, the biggest opportunity to further enhance the positive environmental attributes of metal packaging is to increase recycling rates. In markets where recycling rates are below where we believe they should be, we help establish and financially support packaging collection and recycling initiatives. These initiatives typically focus on collaborating with public and private partners to create effective collection and recycling systems, including education of consumers about the sustainability benefits of metal packaging.

 

Our Reportable Segments

 

Ball Corporation reports its financial performance in four reportable segments: (1) beverage packaging, North and Central America; (2) beverage packaging, South America; (3) beverage packaging, Europe and (4) aerospace. Ball also has investments in the U.S., Guatemala, Panama, South Korea and Vietnam that are accounted for using the equity method of accounting and, accordingly, those results are not included in segment sales or earnings. Financial information related to each of our segments is included in Note 3 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (annual report).

 

On July 31, 2018, Ball sold its U.S. steel food and steel aerosol packaging business and formed a joint venture, Ball Metalpack. See Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this annual report for further information.  As a result of the sale, the remaining global aluminum aerosol and Argentine steel aerosol businesses of the legacy food and aerosol packaging segment are now a non-reportable segment that manufactures and sells aerosol containers, extruded aluminum aerosol containers and aluminum slugs (aerosol packaging). For comparative periods, the entire former food and aerosol packaging segment is now presented within other.

 

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Beverage Packaging, North and Central America, Segment

 

Beverage packaging, North and Central America is Ball’s largest segment, accounting for 40 percent of consolidated net sales in 2018. Metal beverage containers are primarily sold under multi-year supply contracts to fillers of carbonated soft drinks, beer, energy drinks and other beverages.

 

Metal beverage containers and ends are produced at 17 manufacturing facilities in the U.S., one in Canada and two in Mexico.  The beverage packaging, North and Central America, segment also includes interests in three joint ventures that are accounted for using the equity method.

 

The North American beverage container manufacturing industry is relatively mature. Where growth or contractions are projected in certain markets or for certain products, Ball undertakes selected capacity increases or decreases primarily in its existing facilities to meet market demand. A meaningful portion of the industry-wide reduction in demand for standard 12-ounce aluminum cans for the carbonated soft drink market is being offset with growing demand for specialty container volumes from new and existing customers and consumer demand. During 2016, we began production at our newly constructed beverage can and end manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico. In order to serve growing customer demand for specialty cans in the southwestern U.S., the company constructed a four line beverage packaging facility in Goodyear, Arizona, which began production in the second quarter of 2018.

 

According to publicly available information and company estimates, the North American beverage container industry represents approximately 112 billion units. Five companies manufacture substantially all of the metal beverage containers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  Ball produced approximately 46 billion recyclable aluminum beverage containers in North America in 2018, which represented approximately 44 percent of the aggregate production in these countries. Historically, sales volumes of metal beverage containers in North America tend to be highest during the period from April through September. All of the beverage containers produced by Ball in the U.S., Canada and Mexico are made of aluminum. In North and Central America, five suppliers provide the majority of our aluminum can and end sheet requirements.

 

Beverage containers are sold based on price, quality, service, innovation and sustainability in a highly competitive market, which is relatively capital intensive and characterized by facilities that run more or less continuously in order to operate profitably. In addition, the metal beverage container competes aggressively with other packaging materials which include meaningful industry positions by the glass bottle in the packaged beer industry and the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle in the carbonated soft drink and water industries.

 

We believe we have limited our exposure to changes in the cost of aluminum ingot as a result of the inclusion of provisions in most metal beverage container sales contracts to pass through aluminum price changes, as well as through the use of derivative instruments.

 

Our beverage can manufacturing facility in Reidsville, North Carolina, ceased production at the end of June 2017, the Birmingham, Alabama, facility ceased production during the second quarter of 2018 and the Chatsworth, California, and Longview, Texas, facilities ceased production during the third quarter of 2018. These facilities produced beverage cans in a variety of sizes and their customers are now supplied by the company’s other U.S. facilities.

 

Beverage Packaging, South America, Segment

 

The beverage packaging, South America, segment accounted for 15 percent of Ball’s consolidated net sales in 2018. Our operations consist of 12 facilities, 10 in Brazil and one each in Argentina and Chile. For the countries where we operate, the South American beverage container market is approximately 31 billion containers, and we are the largest producer in this region with an estimated 53 percent of South American shipments in 2018. Four companies currently manufacture substantially all of the metal beverage containers in Brazil.

 

The company’s South American beverage facilities produced approximately 16 billion aluminum beverage containers in 2018. Historically, sales volumes of beverage containers in South America tend to be highest during the period from September through December. In South America, two suppliers provide virtually all our aluminum sheet requirements with certain requirements also being imported from Asia.

 

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In order to support contracted volumes for aluminum beverage packaging across Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, the company is constructing a one-line beverage can and end manufacturing facility in Paraguay and will add capacity to its Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile, facilities. The Paraguay facility is expected to begin production in the second half of 2019.  The company ceased operations at its Cuiabá, Brazil, beverage packaging facility in July 2018 and has relocated equipment from the Cuiabá facility to other existing facilities in South America.

 

We believe we have limited our exposure to changes in the cost of aluminum ingot as a result of the inclusion of provisions in most metal beverage container sales contracts to pass through aluminum ingot price changes, as well as through the use of derivative instruments.

 

Beverage Packaging, Europe, Segment

 

The beverage packaging, Europe, segment accounted for 23 percent of Ball’s consolidated net sales in 2018.  Our European operations consist of 20 facilities throughout Europe. The European beverage container market is approximately 67 billion containers, including Russia and excluding Turkey, and we are the largest producer with an estimated 43 percent of European shipments. The European market is highly regional in terms of sales growth rates and packaging mix. Four companies manufacture substantially all of the metal beverage containers in Europe. Our European beverage facilities produced 30 billion beverage containers in 2018, the vast majority of which were produced from aluminum.

 

Historically, sales volumes of metal beverage containers in Europe tend to be highest during the period from May through August with a smaller increase in demand leading up to the winter holiday season in the U.K. offset by much lower demand in Russia. Much like other parts of the world, the metal beverage container competes aggressively with other packaging materials used by the European beer and carbonated soft drink industries. The glass bottle is heavily utilized in the packaged beer industry, while the PET container is utilized in the carbonated soft drink, beer, juice and water industries.

 

European raw material supply contracts generally have longer term agreements. In Europe, five aluminum suppliers and one steel supplier provide almost all of our requirements. Aluminum is traded primarily in U.S. dollars, while the functional currencies of our European operations are various other currencies. The company minimizes its exchange rate risk using derivative and supply contracts in local currencies. Purchase and sales contracts generally include fixed-price, floating or pass-through aluminum ingot component pricing arrangements.

 

In order to support growth for beverage cans in the Iberian Peninsula, the company constructed a two-line, aluminum beverage can manufacturing facility near Madrid, Spain, with a majority of the facility’s capacity secured under a long-term customer contract. The facility is fully operational and produces multiple can sizes utilizing both lines. In the third quarter of 2017, our beverage packaging container and end production facilities in Recklinghausen, Germany, ceased production, and the capacity was transitioned to existing European Ball facilities.  In December 2018, we closed a one-line beverage packaging facility located in San Martino, Italy.

Aerospace Segment

 

Ball’s aerospace segment, which accounted for 10 percent of consolidated net sales in 2018, includes national defense hardware, antenna and video tactical solutions, civil and operational space hardware and systems engineering services. The segment develops spacecraft, sensors and instruments, radio frequency systems and other advanced technologies for the civil, commercial and national security aerospace markets. The majority of the aerospace business involves work under contracts, generally from one to five years in duration, as a prime contractor or subcontractor for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other U.S. government agencies. The company competes against both large and small prime contractors and subcontractors for these contracts. Contracts funded by the various agencies of the federal government represented 99 percent of segment sales in 2018.

 

Intense competition and long operating cycles are key characteristics of both the company’s business and the aerospace and defense industry. It is common in the aerospace and defense industry for work on major programs to be shared among a number of companies. A company competing to be a prime contractor may, upon ultimate award of the contract to a competitor, become a subcontractor for the ultimate prime contracting company. It is not unusual to compete for a contract award with a peer company and, simultaneously, perform as a supplier to or a customer of that same competitor on other contracts, or vice versa.

 

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Geopolitical events and shifting executive and legislative branch priorities have resulted in an increase in opportunities over the past decade in areas matching our aerospace segment’s core capabilities in space hardware. The businesses include hardware and services sold primarily to U.S. customers, with emphasis on space science and exploration, environmental and earth sciences, and defense and intelligence applications. Major activities frequently involve the design, manufacture and testing of satellites, remote sensors and ground station control hardware and software, as well as related services such as launch vehicle integration and satellite operations.

Other hardware activities include target identification, warning and attitude control systems and components; cryogenic systems for reactant storage, and associated sensor cooling devices; star trackers, which are general-purpose stellar attitude sensors; and fast-steering mirrors. Additionally, the aerospace segment provides diversified technical services and products to government agencies, prime contractors and commercial organizations for a broad range of information warfare, electronic warfare, avionics, intelligence, training and space system needs.

 

Contracted backlog in the aerospace segment was $2.2 billion and $1.75 billion at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, and consisted of the aggregate contract value of firm orders, excluding amounts previously recognized as revenue. The 2018 contracted backlog includes $1.1 billion expected to be recognized in revenues during 2019, with the remainder expected to be recognized in revenues in the years thereafter. Unfunded amounts included in backlog for certain firm government orders, which are subject to annual funding, were $1.4 billion and $1.3 billion at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Year-over-year comparisons of backlog are not necessarily indicative of the trend of future operations due to the nature of varying delivery and milestone schedules on contracts, funding of programs and the uncertainty of timing of future contract awards. Uncertainties in the federal government budgeting process could delay the funding, or even result in cancellation of certain programs currently in our reported backlog.

 

Other

 

Other consists of  non-reportable segments located in Africa, Middle East and Asia (beverage packaging, AMEA) and Asia Pacific (beverage packaging, Asia Pacific) that manufacture and sell metal beverage containers; a non-reportable segment that manufactures and sells aerosol containers, extruded aluminum aerosol containers and aluminum slugs (aerosol packaging); undistributed corporate expenses; intercompany eliminations and other business activities.

 

Beverage Packaging, AMEA

 

Our metal beverage container operations in the AMEA region consist of five aluminum container and end manufacturing facilities–two in India and one each in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The beverage container market in these regions produced 27 billion cans in 2018, and we are one of six major producers in this region with 15 percent of shipments. Our manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia, Rexam United Arab Can Manufacturing Limited, is a joint venture 51 percent owned by Ball and consolidated in our results. Additionally, Ball has an ownership interest in an equity method joint venture in South Korea.

 

The company opened a metal beverage container facility in Sri City, India, near Chennai, which began production in the second quarter of 2017.

 

Beverage Packaging, Asia Pacific

 

The metal beverage container market in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is 44 billion containers, of which Ball’s operations represented an estimated 12 percent in 2018. Our percentage of the industry makes us one of the largest manufacturers of metal beverage containers in the PRC. We, along with five other manufacturers, account for approximately 75 percent of the production. Our operations include the manufacture of aluminum containers and ends in four facilities in the PRC and one aluminum container facility in Myanmar. Our aluminum can and end sheet requirements are provided by several suppliers.

 

Ball has ownership interests in beverage packaging manufacturing operations in Vietnam and Thailand.

 

On December 13, 2018, we announced an agreement to sell our beverage packaging facilities in China for upfront consideration of approximately $225 million plus potential additional consideration related to the future relocation of an existing facility in China. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to close during the second half of 2019. 

 

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Aerosol Packaging

 

Our aerosol packaging operations manufacture and sell extruded aluminum aerosol containers, steel aerosol containers and aluminum slugs, which represented less than 5 percent of Ball’s consolidated net sales in 2018. There are 10 manufacturing facilities that manufacture these products – four in Europe, two in Argentina, one each in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and India.  The aerosol packaging market in these countries produced approximately 5 billion aluminum aerosol units in 2018 and we are one of the major producers in this combined area with shipments of 1.1 billion aluminum aerosol packaging containers, representing approximately 20 percent of total shipments in these markets.  Our aluminum and steel aerosol sheet requirements are provided by several suppliers.

 

Patents

 

In the opinion of the company’s management, none of our active patents or groups of patents is material to the successful operation of our business as a whole. We manage our intellectual property portfolio to obtain the durations necessary to achieve our business objectives.

 

Research and Development

 

Research and development (R&D) efforts in our packaging segments are primarily directed toward packaging innovation, specifically the development of new features, sizes, shapes and types of containers, as well as new uses for existing containers. Other R&D efforts in these segments seek to improve manufacturing efficiencies and the overall sustainability of our products. Our packaging R&D activities are primarily conducted in a technical center located in Westminster, Colorado.

In our aerospace business, we continue to focus our R&D activities on the design, development and manufacture of innovative aerospace products and systems. This includes the production of spacecraft, instruments and sensors, radio frequency and system components, data exploitation solutions and a variety of advanced aerospace technologies and products that enable deep space missions. Our aerospace R&D activities are conducted at various locations in the U.S.

 

Additional information regarding company R&D activity is contained in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this annual report, as well as in Item 2, “Properties.”

 

Employee Relations

 

At the end of 2018, the company and its subsidiaries employed approximately 17,500 employees, including approximately 7,300 employees in the U.S. Details of collective bargaining agreements are included within Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this annual report.

 

Where to Find More Information

 

Ball Corporation is subject to the reporting and other information requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act). Reports and other information filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pursuant to the Exchange Act may be inspected and copied at the public reference facility maintained by the SEC in Washington, D.C. The SEC maintains a website at www.sec.gov containing our reports, proxy materials and other items. The company also maintains a website at www.ball.com/investors on which it provides a link to access Ball’s SEC reports free of charge, under the link “Financials.”

 

The company has established written Ball Corporation Corporate Governance Guidelines; a Ball Corporation Executive Officers and Board of Directors Business Ethics Statement; a Business Ethics Code of Conduct; and charters for its Audit Committee, Nominating/Corporate Governance Committee, Human Resources Committee and Finance Committee. These documents are on the company’s website at www.ball.com/investors, under the link “Corporate Governance.” A copy may also be obtained upon request from the company’s corporate secretary. The company’s sustainability report and updates on Ball’s progress are available at www.ball.com/sustainability.

 

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The company intends to post on its website the nature of any amendments to the company’s codes of ethics that apply to executive officers and directors, including the chief executive officer, chief financial officer and controller, and the nature of any waiver or implied waiver from any code of ethics granted by the company to any executive officer or director. These postings will appear on the company’s website at www.ball.com/investors, under the link “Corporate Governance.”

 

Item 1A.  Risk Factors

 

Any of the following risks could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

We may not realize all of the anticipated benefits of the acquisition of Rexam, or those benefits may take longer to realize than expected. We may also encounter significant unexpected difficulties in integrating the two businesses.

 

Our ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition of Rexam will depend, to a large extent, on our ability to integrate our beverage packaging business with Rexam’s business. Combining two independent businesses is a complex, costly and time-consuming process. As a result, we are required to devote significant management attention and resources to integrating the business practices and operations of the company and the Rexam business we acquired. The integration process may disrupt the combined business and, if implemented ineffectively, could preclude the realization of the full benefits of the acquisition that are currently expected. Our failure to meet the challenges involved in integrating the two businesses and to realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition could cause an interruption of, or a loss of momentum in, the activities of the company and could adversely affect the company’s results of operations. In addition, the overall integration of the businesses may result in material unanticipated problems, expenses, liabilities, competitive responses, loss of customer relationships and diversion of management’s attention. The possible difficulties of combining the operations of the companies also include, among others:

 

·

difficulties in achieving anticipated cost savings, synergies, business opportunities and growth prospects from combining our business with that of Rexam;

·

difficulties in integrating operations, business practices and systems;

·

difficulties in assimilating and retaining employees;

·

difficulties in managing the expanded operations of a significantly larger and more complex combined company;

·

challenges in retaining existing customers and suppliers;

·

challenges in obtaining new customers and suppliers;

·

potential unknown liabilities and unforeseen increased expenses associated with the acquisition; and

·

challenges in retaining and attracting key personnel.

 

Many of these factors are or will be outside of our control and any one of them could result in increased costs, decreases in the amount of expected revenues and diversion of management’s time and energy, which could materially impact the business, financial condition and results of operations of the company. In addition, even if the operations of the businesses of the company and Rexam are integrated successfully, we may not realize the full benefits of the acquisition, including the synergies, cost savings or sales or growth opportunities that we expect, or the full benefits may not be achieved within the anticipated time frame, or at all. Additional unanticipated costs may be incurred in the integration of the businesses of the company and Rexam. All of these factors could adversely affect the earnings of the company, decrease or delay the expected accretive effect of the acquisition, or negatively impact the price of the company’s common stock. As a result, we cannot assure that the combination of the company’s and Rexam’s beverage packaging businesses will result in the realization of the full benefits anticipated from the acquisition.

 

In connection with satisfying requirements under the antitrust laws of the U.S., the European Union and Brazil, and obtaining associated approvals and clearances, we were required to effect significant divestitures. As a result of the required divestitures, we may not realize all or a significant portion of the anticipated benefits of the Rexam acquisition, including anticipated synergies, and the company may otherwise suffer other negative consequences that may materially and adversely affect the company’s business, financial condition and results of operations and, to the extent that the current price of the company’s common stock reflects an assumption that the anticipated benefits of the acquisition will be realized, the price per share for the company’s common stock could be negatively impacted.

 

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We have a significant level of debt that could have important consequences for our business and any investment in our securities.

 

The company had $6.7 billion of interest-bearing debt at December 31, 2018. Such indebtedness could have significant consequences for our business and any investment in our securities, including:

 

·

increasing our vulnerability to adverse economic, industry or competitive developments;

·

requiring more of our cash flows from operations to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our indebtedness, limiting our cash flow available to fund our operations, capital expenditures and future business opportunities or returning additional cash to our shareholders;

·

restricting us from making additional acquisitions;

·

limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, product development, debt service requirements, acquisitions and general corporate or other purposes; and

·

limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business or market conditions and placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who may be less leveraged and who, therefore, may be able to take advantage of opportunities that our leverage prevents us from exploiting.

 

Our business, operating results and financial condition are subject to particular risks in certain regions of the world.

 

We may experience an operating loss in one or more regions of the world for one or more periods, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or financial condition. Moreover, overcapacity, which often leads to lower prices, exists in certain regions in which we operate and may persist even if demand grows. Our ability to manage such operational fluctuations and to maintain adequate long-term strategies in the face of such developments will be critical to our continued growth and profitability.

 

The loss of a key customer, or a reduction in its requirements, could have a significant negative impact on our sales.

 

We sell a majority of our packaging products to a relatively limited number of major beverage, personal care and household product companies, some of which operate in multiple geographical markets we serve.

 

Although the majority of our customer contracts are long-term, these contracts, unless they are renewed, expire in accordance with their respective terms and are terminable under certain circumstances, such as our failure to meet quality, volume or market pricing requirements. Because we depend on a relatively limited number of major customers, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected by the loss of any of these customers, a reduction in the purchasing levels of these customers, a strike or work stoppage by a significant number of these customers’ employees or an adverse change in the terms of the supply agreements with these customers.

 

The primary customers for our aerospace segment are U.S. government agencies or their prime contractors. Our contracts with these customers are subject to several risks, including funding cuts and delays, technical uncertainties, budget changes, government shutdowns, competitive activity and changes in scope.

 

We face competitive risks from many sources that may negatively impact our profitability.

 

Competition within the packaging and aerospace industries is intense. Increases in productivity, combined with existing or potential surplus capacity in the industry, have maintained competitive pricing pressures. The principal methods of competition in the general packaging industry are price, innovation, sustainability, service and quality. In the aerospace industry, they are technical capability, cost and schedule. Some of our competitors may have greater financial, technical and marketing resources, and some may currently have excess capacity. Our current or potential competitors may offer products at a lower price or products that are deemed superior to ours. The global economic environment has resulted in reductions in demand for our products in some instances, which, in turn, could increase these competitive pressures.

 

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We are subject to competition from alternative products, which could result in lower profits and reduced cash flows.

 

Our metal packaging products are subject to significant competition from substitute products, particularly plastic carbonated soft drink bottles made from PET, single serve beer bottles and other beverage containers made of glass, cardboard or other materials. Competition from plastic carbonated soft drink bottles is particularly intense in the U.S., Europe and the PRC. Certain of our aerospace products are also subject to competition from alternative products and solutions. There can be no assurance that our products will successfully compete against alternative products, which could result in a reduction in our profits or cash flow.

 

Our packaging businesses have a narrow product range, and our business would suffer if usage of our products decreased or if decreases occur in the demand for the beverages and other goods filled in our products.

 

The majority of our consolidated net sales were from the sale of beverage containers, and we expect to derive a significant portion of our future revenues and cash flows from the sale of beverage containers. Our business would suffer if the use of beverage containers decreased. Accordingly, broad acceptance by consumers of aluminum containers for a wide variety of beverages is critical to our future success. If demand for glass and PET bottles increases relative to metal containers, or the demand for aluminum containers does not develop as expected, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

 

Changes in laws and governmental regulations may adversely affect our business and operations.

 

We and our customers and suppliers are subject to various federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations, which have been increasing in number and complexity. Each of our, and their, facilities is subject to federal, state, provincial and local licensing and regulation by health, environmental, workplace safety and other agencies in multiple jurisdictions. Requirements of worldwide governmental authorities with respect to manufacturing, manufacturing facility locations within the jurisdiction, product content and safety, climate change, workplace safety and health, environmental, expropriation of assets and other standards could adversely affect our ability to manufacture or sell our products, and the ability of our customers and suppliers to manufacture and sell their products. In addition, we face risks arising from compliance with and enforcement of numerous and complex federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations.

 

Enacted regulatory developments regarding the reporting and use of “conflict minerals” mined from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries could affect the sourcing, availability and price of minerals used in the manufacture of certain of our products. As a result, there may only be a limited pool of suppliers who provide conflict-free materials, and we cannot give assurance that we will be able to obtain such products in sufficient quantities or at competitive prices. Also, because our supply chains are complex, we may face reputational challenges with our customers and other stakeholders if we are unable to sufficiently verify the origins of all materials used in the products that we sell. The compliance and reporting aspects of these regulations may result in incremental costs to the company. While deposit systems and other container-related legislation have been adopted in some jurisdictions, similar legislation has been defeated in public referenda and legislative bodies in many others. We anticipate that continuing efforts will be made to consider and adopt such legislation in the future. The packages we produce are widely used and perform well in U.S. states, Canadian provinces and European countries that have deposit systems, as well as in other countries worldwide.

 

Significant environmental, employment-related and other legislation and regulatory requirements exist and are also evolving. The compliance costs associated with current and proposed laws and potential regulations could be substantial, and any failure or alleged failure to comply with these laws or regulations could lead to litigation or governmental action, all of which could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.

 

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Our business, financial condition and results of operations are subject to risks resulting from broader geographic operations.

 

We derived more than 50 percent of our consolidated net sales from outside of the U.S. for the year ended December 31, 2018. The sizeable scope of operations outside of the U.S. may lead to more volatile financial results and make it more difficult for us to manage our business. Reasons for this include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

·

political and economic instability;

·

governments’ restrictive trade policies;

·

the imposition or rescission of duties, taxes or government royalties;

·

exchange rate risks;

·

difficulties in enforcement of contractual obligations and intellectual property rights; and

·

the geographic, language and cultural differences between personnel in different areas of the world.

 

We are exposed to exchange rate fluctuations.

 

The financial results of the company are exposed to currency exchange rate fluctuations and an increased proportion of assets, liabilities and earnings denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies. The company presents its financial statements in U.S. dollars and has a significant proportion of its net assets, debt and income in non-U.S. dollar currencies, primarily the euro, as well as the Russian ruble and other emerging market currencies. The company’s financial results and capital ratios are therefore sensitive to movements in foreign exchange rates.

 

We manage our exposure to currency fluctuations, particularly our exposure to fluctuations in the euro to U.S. dollar exchange rate to attempt to mitigate the effect of cash flow and earnings volatility associated with exchange rate changes. We primarily use forward contracts and options to manage our currency exposures and, as a result, we experience gains and losses on these derivative positions offset, in part, by the impact of currency fluctuations on existing assets and liabilities.

 

If we fail to retain key management and personnel, we may be unable to implement our key objectives.

 

We believe our future success depends, in part, on our experienced management team. Unforeseen losses of key members of our management team without appropriate succession and/or compensation planning could make it difficult for us to manage our business and meet our objectives.

 

Decreases in our ability to develop or apply new technology and know-how may affect our competitiveness.

 

Our success depends partially on our ability to improve production processes and services. We must also introduce new products and services to meet changing customer needs. If we are unable to implement better production processes or to develop new products through research and development or licensing of new technology, we may not be able to remain competitive with other manufacturers. As a result, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

Adverse weather and climate changes may result in lower sales.

 

We manufacture packaging products primarily for beverages. Unseasonably cool weather can reduce demand for certain beverages packaged in our containers. Climate change could have various effects on the demand for our products and the costs of inputs to our production in different regions around the world.

 

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We are vulnerable to fluctuations in the supply and price of raw materials.

 

We purchase aluminum, steel and other raw materials and packaging supplies from several sources. While all such materials are available from independent suppliers, raw materials are subject to fluctuations in price and availability attributable to a number of factors, including general economic conditions, commodity price fluctuations (particularly aluminum on the London Metal Exchange), the demand by other industries for the same raw materials and the availability of complementary and substitute materials. Although we enter into commodities purchase agreements from time to time and sometimes use derivative instruments to seek to manage our risk, we cannot ensure that our current suppliers of raw materials will be able to supply us with sufficient quantities at reasonable prices. Economic, operational and financial factors, as well as governmental action, could impact our suppliers, thereby causing supply shortages. Increases in raw material costs, including potential increases due to tariffs, sanctions, or other trade actions, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. In the Americas, Europe and Asia, some contracts do not allow us to pass along increased raw material costs and we generally use derivative agreements to seek to manage this risk. Our hedging procedures may be insufficient and our results could be materially impacted if costs of materials increase. Due to the fixed-price contracts and derivative activities, while increasing raw material costs may not impact our near-term profitability, increased prices could decrease our sales volume over time.

 

Prolonged work stoppages at facilities with union employees could jeopardize our financial position.

 

As of December 31, 2018, 14 percent of our North American packaging facility employees and 56 percent of our European employees were covered by collective bargaining agreements. These collective bargaining agreements have staggered expirations during the next several years. Although we consider our employee relations to be generally good, a prolonged work stoppage or strike at any facility with union employees could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, we cannot ensure that upon the expiration of existing collective bargaining agreements, new agreements will be reached without union action or that any such new agreements will be on terms satisfactory to us.

 

Our aerospace segment is subject to certain risks specific to that business.

 

In our aerospace business, U.S. government contracts are subject to reduction or modification in the event of changes in requirements, and the government may also terminate contracts at its convenience pursuant to standard termination provisions. In such instances, Ball may be entitled to reimbursement for allowable costs and profits on authorized work that has been performed through the date of termination.

 

In addition, budgetary constraints and government shutdowns may result in further reductions to projected spending levels by the U.S. government. In particular, government expenditures are subject to the potential for automatic reductions, generally referred to as “sequestration.” Sequestration may occur in any given year, resulting in significant additional reductions to spending by various U.S government defense and aerospace agencies on both existing and new contracts, as well as the disruption of ongoing programs. Even if sequestration does not occur, we expect that budgetary constraints and ongoing concerns regarding the U.S. national debt will continue to place downward pressure on agency spending levels. Due to these and other factors, overall spending on various programs could decline, which could result in significant reductions to revenue, cash flows, net earnings and backlog primarily in our aerospace segment.

 

We use estimates in accounting for many of our programs in our aerospace business, and changes in our estimates could adversely affect our future financial results.

 

We account for sales and profits on a portion of long-term contracts in our aerospace business in accordance with the percentage-of-completion method of accounting, using the cost-to-cost method to account for updates in estimates. The percentage-of-completion method of accounting involves the use of various estimating techniques to project revenues and costs at completion and various assumptions and projections relative to the outcome of future events, including the quantity and timing of product deliveries, future labor performance and rates, and material and overhead costs. These assumptions involve various levels of expected performance improvements. Under the cost-to-cost method, the impact of updates in our estimates related to units shipped to date or progress made to date is recognized immediately.

 

Because of the significance of the judgments and estimates described above, it is likely that we could record materially different amounts if we used different assumptions or if the underlying circumstances or estimates were to change.

 

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Our backlog includes both cost-type and fixed-price contracts. Cost-type contracts generally have lower profit margins than fixed-price contracts. Our earnings and margins may vary depending on the types of government contracts undertaken, the nature of the work performed under those contracts, the costs incurred in performing the work, the achievement of other performance objectives and their impact on our ability to receive fees. The fixed-price contracts could subject us to losses if we have cost overruns or if increases in our costs exceed the applicable escalation rate.

 

As a U.S. government contractor, we could be adversely affected by changes in regulations or any negative findings from a U.S. government audit or investigation.

 

Our aerospace business operates in a highly regulated environment and is routinely audited and reviewed by the U.S. government and its agencies, such as the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) and Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). These agencies review performance under our contracts, our cost structure and our compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards, as well as the adequacy of, and our compliance with, our internal control systems and policies. Business systems that are subject to review under the DoD Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) are purchasing, estimating, material management and accounting, as well as property and earned value management. Any costs ultimately found to be unallowable or improperly allocated to a specific contract will not be reimbursed or must be refunded if already reimbursed. If an audit uncovers improper or illegal activities, we may be subject to civil and criminal penalties, sanctions or suspension or debarment from doing business with the U.S. government. Whether or not illegal activities are alleged, the U.S. government also has the ability to decrease or withhold certain payments when it deems systems subject to its review to be inadequate. If such actions were to result in suspension or debarment, this could have a material adverse effect on our business. 

 

Our business is subject to substantial environmental remediation and compliance costs.

 

Our operations are subject to federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations in multiple jurisdictions relating to environmental hazards, such as emissions to air, discharges to water, the handling and disposal of hazardous and solid wastes and the clean-up of hazardous substances. We have been designated, along with numerous other companies, as a potentially responsible party for the clean-up of several hazardous waste sites. Based on available information, we do not believe that any costs incurred in connection with such sites will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, capital expenditures or competitive position. There is increased focus on the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental issues worldwide.

 

Our business faces the potential of increased regulation on some of the raw materials utilized in our packaging operations.

 

Our operations are subject to federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations in multiple jurisdictions relating to some of the raw materials, such as epoxy-based coatings utilized in our container making process. Epoxy-based coatings may contain Bisphenol-A (BPA). Scientific evidence evaluated by regulatory agencies in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand has consistently shown these coatings to be safe for food contact at current levels, and these regulatory agencies have stated that human exposure to BPA from epoxy-based container coatings is well below safe exposure limits set by government bodies worldwide. A significant change in these regulatory agency statements, adverse information concerning BPA, or rulings made within certain federal, state, provincial and local jurisdictions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. Ball recognizes that significant interest exists in non-epoxy based coatings, and we have been proactively working with coatings suppliers and our customers to transition to alternative coatings.

 

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Net earnings and net assets could be materially affected by an impairment of goodwill.

 

We have a significant amount of goodwill recorded on the consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2018. We are required at least annually to test the recoverability of goodwill. The recoverability test of goodwill is based on the current fair value of our identified reporting units. Fair value measurement requires assumptions and estimates of many critical factors, including revenue and market growth, operating cash flows and discount rates. If general market conditions deteriorate in portions of our business, we could experience a significant decline in the fair value of reporting units. This decline could lead to an impairment of all or a significant portion of the goodwill balance, which could materially affect our U.S. GAAP net earnings and net assets.

 

We continue to see the industry supply of beverage packaging exceed demand in China, resulting in significant pricing pressure and negative impacts on the profitability of our beverage packaging, Asia Pacific, reporting unit. The worsening business climate in Saudi Arabia has resulted in negative impacts to the profitability of our beverage packaging, AMEA, reporting unit. If it becomes an expectation that these situations will continue for an extended period of time, it may result in a noncash impairment of some or all of the goodwill associated with these reporting units, totaling $78 million and $100 million, respectively, at December 31, 2018. The company’s annual goodwill impairment test completed in the fourth quarter of 2018 indicated the estimated fair value of the beverage packaging, Asia Pacific, and beverage packaging, AMEA, reporting units exceeded their carrying amounts, including goodwill, by 11 percent and 15 percent, respectively.  The goodwill associated with the beverage packaging, Asia Pacific, reporting unit predominantly relates to the China beverage packaging facilities. On December 13, 2018, we announced an agreement to sell our beverage packaging facilities in China. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2019.

 

If the investments in Ball’s pension plans, or in the multi-employer pension plans in which Ball participates, do not perform as expected, we may have to contribute additional amounts to the plans, which would otherwise be available for other general corporate purposes.

 

Ball maintains defined benefit pension plans covering substantially all of its North American employees and a significant portion of United Kingdom employees, which are funded based on certain actuarial assumptions. The plans’ assets consist primarily of common stocks, fixed-income securities and, in the U.S., alternative investments. Market declines, longevity increases or legislative changes, such as the Pension Protection Act in the U.S., could result in a prospective decrease in our available cash flow and net earnings over time, and the recognition of an increase in our pension obligations could result in a reduction to our shareholders’ equity. Additional risks exist related to the company’s participation in multi-employer pension plans. Assets contributed to a multi-employer pension plan by one employer may be used to provide benefits to employees of other participating employers. If a participating employer in a multi-employer pension plan stops contributing to the plan, the unfunded obligations of the plan may be borne by the remaining participants. This could result in increases to our contributions to the plans as well as pension expense.

 

Restricted access to capital markets could adversely affect our short-term liquidity and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under the notes issued pursuant to our bond indentures.

 

A reduction in global market liquidity could:

 

·

restrict our ability to fund working capital, capital expenditures, research and development expenditures and other business activities;

·

increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions, including the credit risks stemming from the economic environment;

·

limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our businesses and the industries in which we operate;

·

restrict us from making strategic acquisitions or exploiting business opportunities; and

·

limit, along with the financial and other restrictive covenants in our debt, among other things, our ability to borrow additional funds, dispose of assets, pay cash dividends or refinance debt maturities.

 

As market interest rates increase, our variable-rate debt will create higher debt service requirements, which adversely affects our cash flow. While we sometimes enter into agreements limiting our exposure, any such agreements may not offer complete protection from this risk.

 

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The global credit, financial and economic environment could have a negative impact on our results of operations, financial position or cash flows.

 

The overall credit, financial and economic environment could have significant negative effects on our operations, including:

 

·

the creditworthiness of customers, suppliers and counterparties could deteriorate resulting in a financial loss or a disruption in our supply of raw materials;

·

volatile market performance could affect the fair value of our pension assets, potentially requiring us to make significant additional contributions to our defined benefit pension plans to maintain prescribed funding levels;

·

a significant weakening of our financial position or operating results could result in noncompliance with our debt covenants; and

·

reduced cash flow from our operations could adversely affect our ability to execute our long-term strategy to increase liquidity, reduce debt, repurchase our stock and invest in our businesses.

 

Changes in U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP) and SEC rules and regulations could materially impact our reported results.

 

U.S. GAAP and SEC accounting and reporting changes are common and have become more frequent and significant over the past several years. These changes could have significant effects on our reported results when compared to prior periods and other companies and may even require us to retrospectively adjust prior periods. Additionally, material changes to the presentation of transactions in the consolidated financial statements could impact key ratios that analysts and credit rating agencies use to rate Ball and ultimately impact our ability to access the credit markets in an efficient manner.

 

Earnings and cash flows can be impacted by changes in tax laws.

 

As a U.S.-based multinational business, the company is subject to income tax in the U.S. and numerous jurisdictions outside the U.S. The relevant tax rules and regulations are complex, often changing and, in some cases, are interdependent. If these or other tax rules and regulations should change, the company’s earnings and cash flows could be impacted.

 

In particular, the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the Act), which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, may continue to result in fluctuations in the company’s net earnings and cash flows. The Act introduced major changes to U.S. income tax law that require significant judgment to interpret the impact of the provisions of the Act on the company’s financial results.

 

Due to the timing of its enactment and the complexity associated with the provisions of the Act, the company made reasonable estimates of its effects where possible and recorded provisional estimates in its financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017. The company has updated these provisional estimates as needed and its financial statements now reflect the final impact of these items based on currently available guidance, including proposed regulations. Given the various uncertainties and ambiguities that still remain with respect to the application of the Act, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department may issue subsequent guidance on the provisions of the Act, including final regulations, that differs from our current interpretations. The impact of any adjustments required as a result of such subsequent guidance could materially affect the company’s financial results.  

 

The company’s worldwide provision for income taxes is determined, in part, through the use of significant estimates and judgments. Numerous transactions arise in the ordinary course of business where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. The company undergoes tax examinations by various worldwide tax authorities on a regular basis. While the company believes its estimates of its tax obligations are reasonable, the final outcome after the conclusion of any tax examinations and any litigation could be materially different from what has been reflected in the company’s historical financial statements.

 

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Increased information technology (IT) security threats and more sophisticated and targeted computer crime could pose a risk to our systems, networks, products, solutions and services.

 

The company’s IT systems, or any third party’s system on which the company relies, could fail on their own accord or may be vulnerable to a variety of interruptions or shutdowns, including interruptions or shutdowns due to natural disasters, power outages or telecommunications failures, terrorist attacks or failures during the process of upgrading or replacing software or hardware.  Increased global IT security threats and more sophisticated and targeted computer crime also pose a risk to the security of our systems and networks and the confidentiality, availability and integrity of our data. As a provider of products and services to government and commercial customers, our aerospace business in particular may be the target of cyber-attacks, including attempts to gain unauthorized access to classified or sensitive information and networks.  The company has a number of shared service centers where many of the company’s IT systems are concentrated and any disruption at such a location could impact the company’s business within the operating zones served by the impacted service center. 

 

While we attempt to mitigate all of these risks by employing a number of measures, including employee training, comprehensive monitoring of our networks and systems, and maintenance of backup and protective systems, our systems, networks, products, solutions and services remain potentially vulnerable to advanced persistent threats or other IT disruptions. Depending on their nature and scope, such threats could potentially lead to the compromise of confidential information, improper use of our systems and networks, manipulation and destruction of data, defective products, harm to individuals or property, contractual or regulatory actions and fines, penalties and potential liabilities, production downtimes and operational disruptions, which in turn could adversely affect our reputation, competitiveness and results of operations. Data privacy and protection laws are evolving and present increasing compliance challenges, which may increase our costs, affect our competitiveness and could expose us to substantial fines or other penalties. In addition, a security breach that involves classified or other sensitive government information could subject us to civil or criminal penalties and could result in the loss of our secure facility clearance and other accreditation, loss of our government contracts, loss of access to classified information or debarment as a government contractor.

 

A material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting could, if not remediated, result in material misstatements in our financial statements.

 

Management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting, as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) under the Securities Exchange Act. A material weakness is defined as a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. If a material weakness is identified, management could conclude that internal control over financial reporting is not effective based on criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organization of the Treadway Commission in “Internal Control—An Integrated Framework  (2013).” If a material weakness is identified, a remediation plan would be designed to address the material weakness. If remedial measures are insufficient to address the material weakness, or if additional material weaknesses in internal control are discovered or occur in the future, our consolidated financial statements may contain material misstatements and we could be required to restate our financial results. As of December 31, 2018, the company had no material weaknesses.

 

Significant developments stemming from the U.K.’s referendum on membership in the EU could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

In June 2016, the U.K. held a referendum and voted in favor of leaving the European Union (EU). This referendum has created political and economic uncertainty, particularly in the U.K. and the EU, and this uncertainty may last for years, particularly as the U.K. and the EU continue to negotiate the terms of withdrawal from the EU. Our business in the U.K., the EU and worldwide could be affected by uncertainty prior to and after the upcoming March 29, 2019, withdrawal date by the impact of the U.K.’s referendum and anticipated withdrawal from the EU. There are many ways in which our business could be affected, only some of which we can identify at the present time, such as supply chain constraints, increased material costs due to rising tariffs, effects on employee mobility and increased costs of doing business in the U.K. These effects could be more severe if the U.K. and the EU fail to reach an agreement prior to the withdrawal date.

 

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The referendum, and the likely withdrawal of the U.K. from the EU it triggers, has caused and, along with events that could occur in the future as a consequence of the U.K.’s withdrawal, including the possible breakup of the U.K. or the EU, may continue to cause significant volatility in global financial markets, including in global currency and debt markets. A failure by the U.K. and the EU to reach an agreement prior to the U.K.’s departure from the EU, scheduled for March 29, 2019, may increase this volatility. This volatility could cause a slowdown in economic activity in the U.K., Europe or globally, which could adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects. In addition, our business could be negatively affected by new trade agreements between the U.K. and other countries, including the U.S., and by the possible imposition of trade or other regulatory barriers in the U.K. These possible negative impacts, and others resulting from the U.K.s actual or threatened withdrawal from the EU, may adversely affect our operating results and growth prospects.

 

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments

 

There were no matters required to be reported under this item.

 

Item 2.  Properties

 

The company’s properties described below are well maintained, and management considers them to be adequate and utilized for their intended purposes.

 

Ball’s corporate headquarters and the aerospace segment management offices are located in Broomfield, Colorado, U.S. The operations of the aerospace segment occupy a variety of company-owned and leased facilities in Colorado, U.S., which together aggregate 1.8 million square feet of office, laboratory, research and development, engineering and test and manufacturing space. Other aerospace operations carry on business in smaller company owned and leased facilities in other U.S. locations outside of Colorado.

 

The offices of the company’s various beverage packaging, North and Central America, operations are located in Westminster, Colorado, U.S.; the offices for the beverage packaging, Europe, operations are located in Luton, U.K.; the offices for the beverage packaging, AMEA, operations are located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; the offices for the beverage packaging, Asia Pacific, operations are located in Hong Kong; and the beverage packaging, South America, offices are located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The company’s research and development facilities are primarily located in Westminster, Colorado, U.S. The company has shared service centers located in Queretaro, Mexico; Belgrade, Serbia; and São José dos Campos, Brazil.

 

Information regarding the approximate size of the manufacturing locations for significant packaging operations, which are owned or leased by the company, is set forth below. Facilities in the process of being constructed, or that have ceased production, have been excluded from the list. Where certain locations include multiple facilities, the total approximate size for the location is noted. In addition to the facilities listed, the company leases other warehousing space.

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Approximate

 

 

Floor Space in

Plant Location

    

Square Feet

 

 

 

Beverage packaging, North and Central America:

 

 

Conroe, Texas

 

315,000

Fairfield, California

 

337,000

Findlay, Ohio

 

733,000

Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin

 

250,000

Fort Worth, Texas

 

322,000

Golden, Colorado

 

509,000

Goodyear, Arizona

 

495,000

Kapolei, Hawaii

 

131,000

Kent, Washington

 

127,000

Monterrey, Mexico

 

440,000

Monticello, Indiana

 

356,000

Phoenix, Arizona

 

106,000

Queretaro, Mexico

 

253,000

Rome, Georgia

 

386,000

Saint Paul, Minnesota

 

165,000

Saratoga Springs, New York

 

290,000

Tampa, Florida

 

276,000

Wallkill, New York

 

312,000

Whitby, Ontario, Canada

 

205,000

Williamsburg, Virginia

 

400,000

 

 

 

Beverage packaging, South America:

 

 

Aguas Claras, Brazil

 

292,000

Brasilia, Brazil

 

267,000

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

272,000

Extrema, Brazil

 

375,000

Jacarei, Sao Paulo, Brazil

 

476,000

Manaus, Brazil

 

303,000

Pouso Alegre, Brazil

 

430,000

Recife, Brazil

 

455,000

Santa Cruz, Brazil

 

311,000

Santiago, Chile

 

275,000

Simoes Filho, Brazil

 

96,000

Tres Rios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

428,000

 

 

 

 

Beverage packaging, Europe:

 

 

Argayash, Russia

 

256,000

Belgrade, Serbia

 

342,000

Bierne, France

 

274,000

Cabanillas del Campo, Spain

 

145,000

Ejpovice, Czech Republic

 

185,000

Fosie, Sweden

 

669,000

Fredericia, Denmark

 

329,000

Gelsenkirchen, Germany

 

378,000

La Selva, Spain

 

278,000

Lublin, Poland

 

280,000

Ludesch, Austria

 

337,000

Mantsala, Finland

 

230,000

Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

 

148,000

Mont, France

 

45,000

Naro Fominsk, Russia

 

544,000

Nogara, Italy

 

122,000

Vsevolozhsk, Russia

 

316,000

Wakefield, United Kingdom

 

269,000

Waterford, Ireland

 

129,000

Widnau, Switzerland

 

321,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Approximate

 

 

Floor Space in

Plant Location

    

Square Feet

Beverage packaging, AMEA:

 

 

Cairo, Egypt

 

201,000

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

 

416,000

Manisa, Turkey

 

173,000

Mumbai, India

 

175,000

Sri City, India

 

215,000

 

 

 

Beverage packaging, Asia Pacific:

 

 

Beijing, PRC

 

303,000

Hubei (Wuhan), PRC

 

416,000

Qingdao, PRC

 

326,000

Sanshui (Foshan), PRC

 

672,000

Yangon, Myanmar

 

432,000

 

 

 

Aerosol packaging:

 

 

Ahmedabad, India

 

58,000

Beaurepaire, France

 

89,000

Bellegarde, France

 

124,000

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

34,000

Devizes, United Kingdom

 

110,000

San Luis, Argentina

 

51,000

San Luis Potosí, Mexico

 

158,000

Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

 

100,000

Velim, Czech Republic

 

252,000

Verona, Virginia

 

72,000

 

 

 

 

Item 3.  Legal Proceedings

 

Details of the company’s legal proceedings are included in Note 23 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this annual report.

 

Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures

 

Not applicable.

 

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Table of Contents

Part II.

 

Item 5.  Market for the Registrant’s Common Stock and Related Stockholder Matters

 

Ball Corporation common stock (BLL) is listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange. There were 6,048 common shareholders of record on February 20, 2019.

 

Common Stock Repurchases

 

The following table summarizes the company’s repurchases of its common stock during the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchases of Securities

($ in millions)

    

Total

Number of

Shares

Purchased

(a)

    

Average
Price
Paid per
Share

    

Total Number of
Shares Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plans or
Programs (a)

    

Maximum Number of
Shares that May Yet
Be Purchased Under
the Plans or Programs
(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1 to October 31, 2018

 

1,820,293

 

$

44.84

 

1,820,293

 

13,458,171

November 1 to November 31, 2018

 

2,286,260

 

 

49.06

 

2,286,260

 

11,171,911

December 1 to December 31, 2018

 

1,923,374

 

 

46.81

 

1,923,374

 

9,248,537

Total

 

6,029,927

 

 

47.07

 

6,029,927

 

 


(a)Includes any open market purchases (on a trade-date basis), share repurchase agreements and/or shares retained by the company to settle employee withholding tax liabilities.

(b)The company has an ongoing repurchase program for which shares are authorized from time to time by Ball’s Board of Directors. On January 23, 2019, the Board authorized the repurchase by the company of up to a total of 50 million shares. This repurchase authorization replaced all previous authorizations.

 

Shareholder Return Performance

 

The line graph below compares the annual percentage change in Ball Corporation’s cumulative total shareholder return on its common stock with the cumulative total return of the Dow Jones Containers & Packaging Index and the S&P Composite 500 Stock Index for the five-year period ended December 31, 2018. It assumes $100 was invested on December 31, 2013, and that all dividends were reinvested. The Dow Jones Containers & Packaging Index total return has been weighted by market capitalization.

 

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Table of Contents

TOTAL RETURN TO STOCKHOLDERS

(Assumes $100 investment on 12/31/13)

Picture 2

 

 

 

Total Return Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/31/2013

 

12/31/2014

 

12/31/2015

 

12/31/2016

 

12/31/2017

 

12/31/2018

BLL

 

$

100.00

 

$

133.09

 

$

143.05

 

$

148.7

 

$

151.34

 

$

185.62

S&P 500

 

 

100.00

 

 

111.39

 

 

110.58

 

 

121.13

 

 

144.65

 

 

135.63

DJ US Containers & Packaging

 

 

100.00

 

 

112.91

 

 

106.35

 

 

123.86

 

 

144.55

 

 

115.42

 

Source: Bloomberg L.P.® Charts

 

 

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Table of Contents

Item 6.  Selected Financial Data

 

Five-Year Review of Selected Financial Data

Ball Corporation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

($ in millions, except per share amounts)

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

    

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

11,635

 

$

10,983

 

$

9,061

 

$

7,997

 

$

8,570

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT)

 

$

935

 

$

802

 

$

463

 

$

606

 

$

839

Total interest expense

 

 

(302)

 

 

(288)

 

 

(338)

 

 

(260)

 

 

(193)

Earnings before taxes

 

$

633

 

$

514

 

$

125

 

$

346

 

$

646

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net earnings attributable to Ball

Corporation (a) 

 

$

454

 

$

374

 

$

263

 

$

281

 

$

470

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share (a)

 

$

1.32

 

$

1.07

 

$

0.83

 

$

1.02

 

$

1.70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted average common shares

   outstanding (000s)

 

 

344,796

 

 

350,269

 

 

316,542

 

 

274,600

 

 

277,016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted earnings per share (a)

 

$

1.29

 

$

1.05

 

$

0.81

 

$

1.00

 

$

1.65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted weighted average common shares

outstanding (000s)

 

 

352,321

 

 

356,985

 

 

322,884

 

 

281,968

 

 

284,860

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

$

16,554

 

$

17,169

 

$

16,173

 

$

9,697

 

$

7,535

Total interest bearing debt and capital lease

obligations

 

$

6,729

 

$

6,971

 

$

7,532

 

$

5,051

 

$

3,133

Cash dividends per share

 

$

0.400

 

$

0.365

 

$

0.26

 

$

0.26

 

$

0.26

Total cash provided by operating activities (c)

 

$

1,566

 

$

1,478

 

$

193

 

$

1,037

 

$

1,060

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-GAAP Measures (b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparable operating earnings

 

$

1,290

 

$

1,220

 

$

976

 

$

801

 

$

920

Comparable net earnings

 

$

775

 

$

728

 

$

563

 

$

490

 

$

553

Diluted earnings per share (comparable basis)

 

$

2.20

 

$

2.04

 

$

1.74

 

$

1.74

 

$

1.94

Free cash flow (c)

 

$

750

 

$

922

 

$

(413)

 

$

509

 

$

669


(a)Includes business consolidation and other activities and other items affecting comparability between years. Additional details regarding the 2018, 2017 and 2016 items are available in Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

(b)Non-U.S. GAAP measures should not be considered in isolation and should not be considered superior to, or a substitute for, financial measures calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. See below for reconciliations of non-U.S. GAAP financial measures to U.S. GAAP measures. Further discussion of non-GAAP financial measures is available in Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under Management Performance Measurements and Other Liquidity Measures.

(c)

Amounts in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 have been retrospectively adjusted to reflect the adoption of new accounting guidance that was effective January 1, 2018. Cash provided by operating activities was increased by $30 and $48 million in 2015 and 2014, respectively, as a result of adopting the new accounting guidance. See Notes 2 and 7 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further details.

 

 

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Reconciliations of non-U.S. GAAP financial measures to U.S. GAAP measures are as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

($ in millions)

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

    

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net earnings attributable to Ball Corporation

 

$

454

 

$

374

 

$

263

 

$

281

 

$

470

Add: Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests

 

 

(1)

 

 

 6

 

 

 3

 

 

22

 

 

28

Net earnings

 

 

453

 

 

380

 

 

266

 

 

303

 

 

498

Less: Equity in results of affiliates, net of tax

 

 

(5)

 

 

(31)

 

 

(15)

 

 

(4)

 

 

(2)

Add: Tax provision (benefit)

 

 

185

 

 

165

 

 

(126)

 

 

47

 

 

150

Earnings before taxes, as reported

 

 

633

 

 

514

 

 

125

 

 

346

 

 

646

Total interest expense

 

 

302

 

 

288

 

 

338

 

 

260

 

 

193

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT)

 

 

935

 

 

802

 

 

463

 

 

606

 

 

839

Business consolidation and other activities

 

 

191

 

 

221

 

 

337

 

 

195

 

 

81

Amortization of acquired Rexam intangibles

 

 

164

 

 

162

 

 

65

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Catch-up depreciation and amortization for 2016 from finalization of Rexam valuation

 

 

 —

 

 

35

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Cost of sales associated with Rexam inventory step-up

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

84

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Egyptian pound devaluation

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

27

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Comparable Operating Earnings

 

$

1,290

 

$

1,220

 

$

976

 

$

801

 

$

920

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net earnings attributable to Ball Corporation, as reported

 

$

454

 

$

374

 

$

263

 

$

281

 

$

470

Business consolidation and other activities

 

 

191

 

 

221

 

 

337

 

 

195

 

 

81

Amortization of acquired Rexam intangibles

 

 

164

 

 

162

 

 

65

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Catch-up depreciation and amortization for 2016 from finalization of Rexam valuation

 

 

 —

 

 

35

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Share of equity method affiliate non-comparable costs

 

 

 8

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Cost of sales associated with Rexam inventory step-up

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

84

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Egyptian pound devaluation

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

27

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Debt refinancing and other costs

 

 

 1

 

 

 3

 

 

109

 

 

117

 

 

33

Non-comparable taxes

 

 

 2

 

 

(150)

 

 

(322)

 

 

(103)

 

 

(31)

Impact of U.S. tax reform

 

 

(45)

 

 

83

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Net earnings attributable to Ball Corporation before above

 transactions (Comparable Net Earnings)

 

$

775

 

$

728

 

$

563

 

$

490

 

$

553

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total cash provided by operating activities (a)(b)

 

$

1,566

 

$

1,478

 

$

193

 

$

1,037

 

$

1,060

Capital expenditures

 

 

(816)

 

 

(556)

 

 

(606)

 

 

(528)

 

 

(391)

Free cash flow (b)

 

$

750

 

$

922

 

$

(413)

 

$

509

 

$

669


(a)

Includes payments of costs associated with the acquisition of Rexam and the sale of a business associated with the June 2016 acquisition of Rexam, additional details of which are available in Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

(b)

Amounts in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 have been retrospectively adjusted to reflect the adoption of new accounting guidance that was effective January 1, 2018. Cash provided by operating activities was increased by $30 and $48 million in 2015 and 2014, respectively, as a result of adopting the new accounting guidance. See Notes 2 and 7 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further details.

 

 

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Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

Management’s discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (annual report), which include additional information about our accounting policies, practices and the transactions underlying our financial results. The preparation of our consolidated financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (U.S. GAAP) requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts in our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes including various claims and contingencies related to lawsuits, taxes, environmental and other matters arising during the normal course of business. We apply our best judgment, our knowledge of existing facts and circumstances and actions that we may undertake in the future in determining the estimates that affect our consolidated financial statements. We evaluate our estimates on an ongoing basis using our historical experience, as well as other factors we believe appropriate under the circumstances, such as current economic conditions, and adjust or revise our estimates as circumstances change. As future events and their effects cannot be determined with precision, actual results may differ from these estimates. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries are referred to collectively as “Ball Corporation,” “Ball,” “the company,” “we” or “our” in the following discussion and analysis.

 

OVERVIEW

 

Business Overview and Industry Trends

 

Ball Corporation is one of the world’s leading suppliers of metal packaging to the beverage, personal care and household products industries. Our packaging products are produced for a variety of end uses, are manufactured in facilities around the world and are competitive with other substrates, such as plastics and glass. In the rigid packaging industry, sales and earnings can be increased by reducing costs, increasing prices, developing new products, expanding volumes and making strategic acquisitions. We also provide aerospace and other technologies and services to governmental and commercial customers, including national defense hardware, antenna and video tactical solutions, civil and operational space hardware and system engineering services.

 

We sell our packaging products mainly to large, multinational beverage, personal care and household products companies with which we have developed long-term relationships. This is evidenced by our high customer retention and our large number of long-term supply contracts. While we have a diversified customer base, we sell a significant portion of our packaging products to major companies and brands, as well as to numerous regional customers. The overall global beverage and aerosol metal container industries are growing and are expected to continue to grow in the medium to long term. The primary customers for the products and services provided by our aerospace segment are U.S. government agencies or their prime contractors.

 

We purchase our raw materials from relatively few suppliers. We also have exposure to inflation, in particular the rising costs of raw materials, as well as other direct cost inputs. We mitigate our exposure to the changes in the costs of metal through the inclusion of provisions in contracts covering the majority of our volumes to pass through metal price changes, as well as through the use of derivative instruments. The pass-through provisions generally result in proportional increases or decreases in sales and costs with a greatly reduced impact, if any, on net earnings. Because of our customer and supplier concentration, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected by the loss, insolvency or bankruptcy of a major customer or supplier or a change in a supply agreement with a major customer or supplier, although our contract provisions generally mitigate the risk of customer loss, and our long-term relationships represent a known, stable customer base.

 

The majority of the aerospace business involves work under contracts, generally from one to five years in duration, as a prime contractor or subcontractor for various U.S. government agencies. Intense competition and long operating cycles are key characteristics of the company’s aerospace and defense industry where it is common for work on major programs to be shared among a number of companies. A company competing to be a prime contractor may, upon ultimate award of the contract to a competitor, become a subcontractor for the ultimate prime contracting company.

 

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Corporate Strategy

 

Our Drive for 10 vision encompasses five strategic levers that are key to growing our business and achieving long-term success. Since launching Drive for 10 in 2011, we have made progress on each of the levers as follows:

 

·

Maximizing value in our existing businesses by rationalizing standard beverage container and end capacity in North America, South America and Europe, and expanding specialty container production to meet current demand; leveraging plant floor systems in our beverage facilities to improve efficiencies and reduce costs; consolidating and/or closing multiple beverage packaging facilities to gain efficiencies; and in the aerosol business, installing new extruded aluminum aerosol lines in our European, Mexican and Indian facilities while also implementing cost-out and value-in initiatives across all of our businesses;

 

·

Expanding further into new products and capabilities through commercializing extruded aluminum aerosol packaging that utilizes proprietary technology to significantly lightweight the can; and successfully commercializing the next-generation aluminum bottle-shaping technology;

 

·

Aligning ourselves with the right customers and markets by investing capital to meet continued growth for specialty beverage containers throughout our global network, which represent approximately 40 percent of our global beverage packaging mix; aligning with craft brewers, sparkling water fillers, wine producers and other new beverage producers who continue to use beverage containers to grow their business;

 

·

Broadening our geographic reach with our acquisition of Rexam and our new investments in beverage manufacturing facilities in Spain, Mexico, Myanmar and Panama, as well as an extruded aluminum aerosol manufacturing facility in India; and

 

·

Leveraging our technological expertise in packaging innovation, including the introduction of next-generation aluminum bottle-shaping technologies and the increased production of lightweight ReAl®  containers, which utilize technology that increases the strength of aluminum used in the manufacturing process while lightweighting the can by up to 20 percent over a standard aluminum aerosol can, as well as our investment in cyber, data analytics and LIDAR capabilities to further enhance our aerospace technical expertise across a broader customer portfolio.

 

These ongoing business developments and our successful acquisition of Rexam in 2016 help us stay close to our customers while expanding and/or sustaining our industry positions and global reach with major beverage, personal care, household products and aerospace customers.

 

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

Management’s discussion and analysis for our results of operations on a consolidated and segment basis include a quantification of factors that had a material impact. Other factors that did not have a material impact, but that are significant to understand the results, are qualitatively described.

 

Consolidated Sales and Earnings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

($ in millions)

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

11,635

 

$

10,983

 

$

9,061

 

Net earnings attributable to Ball Corporation

 

 

454

 

 

374

 

 

263

 

Net earnings attributable to Ball Corporation as a % of consolidated net sales

 

 

 4

%  

 

 3

%  

 

 3

%

 

Sales in 2018 were $652 million higher compared to 2017 primarily as a result of increased sales volumes for our South America and Europe segments, pass through of higher metal prices, higher pricing and favorable product mix for our North and Central America segment, favorable foreign exchange rate changes in our Europe segment and increased sales in the aerospace segment driven by significant U.S. national defense contracts. 

 

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Net earnings attributable to Ball Corporation in 2018 were $80 million higher than 2017 primarily due to increased sales volumes in our Europe and North and Central America segments, favorable manufacturing performance and lower business consolidation and other costs, partially offset by higher tax expense, freight costs and interest expense.  

 

Sales and operating earnings for 2018 were impacted by the loss of sales from our U.S. steel food and steel aerosol business, which was sold on July 31, 2018.

 

Sales in 2017 were $1.9 billion higher compared to 2016 primarily as a result of increased sales volumes for our North and Central America, South America and Europe segments, increased pass through of higher metal prices for our North and Central America and South America segments, favorable currency exchange effects for our Europe segment, favorable product mix for our South America segment and increased sales in our aerospace segment. Sales volumes for the year ended December 31, 2017 for our North and Central America, South America and Europe segments were higher compared to the same period in 2016 primarily as a result of 2017 including twelve months of sales volumes from the acquired Rexam business, while 2016 included six months of sales volumes from the acquired Rexam business and six months of sales volumes from the company’s legacy business, a significant portion of which was sold in connection with the June 2016 acquisition of Rexam (Divestment Business). The South America segment experienced organic sales growth, and increased sales from significant U.S. national defense contracts drove revenue growth in the aerospace segment. 

 

Net earnings attributable to Ball Corporation in 2017 were $111 million higher than 2016 primarily due to increased earnings related to higher sales volumes in the South America, Europe and North and Central America beverage can segments, synergy realizations, lower cost of sales in 2017 compared to 2016 which included $84 million for the step-up of inventory related to the acquired Rexam business, lower debt refinancing and other costs in 2017 and a decrease in business consolidation and other activities in 2017, partially offset by higher incremental depreciation. These impacts on net earnings were partially offset by higher tax expense in 2017, due principally to provisional charges from the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, income tax benefits in 2016 associated with the restructure of Brazil legal entities as a result of the sale of the Divestment Business, the tax benefit on transaction costs and derivative costs of the Rexam acquisition and sale of the Divestment Business in 2016. 

 

Debt refinancing and other costs in 2016 included costs on debt associated with the Rexam acquisition. See Note 15 located in Item 8 of this annual report for additional information on the activity in debt refinancing and other costs.

 

Cost of Sales (Excluding Depreciation and Amortization)

 

Cost of sales, excluding depreciation and amortization, was $9,329 million in 2018 compared to $8,717 million in 2017 and $7,296 million in 2016. These amounts represented 80 percent, 79 percent and 81 percent of consolidated net sales for the years ended 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. Cost of sales in 2016 included expense of $84 million for the step-up of inventory related to the acquired Rexam business.

 

Depreciation and Amortization

 

Depreciation and amortization expense was $702 million in 2018 compared to $729 million in 2017 and $453 million in 2016. These amounts represented 6 percent, 7 percent and 5 percent of consolidated net sales for 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. The expense was lower in 2018 compared to 2017 due to the absence of catch-up depreciation of fixed assets and amortization of intangible assets following the Rexam acquisition, which was recorded during 2017. The expense was higher in 2017 compared to 2016 due to increased depreciation of fixed assets and amortization of intangible assets related to 2016 following the Rexam acquisition. During 2017, the company finalized the valuation and useful lives of the assets acquired in the Rexam acquisition. As a result, depreciation and amortization expense for 2017 included a cumulative catch-up adjustment of $35 million related to the last six months of 2016. Amortization expense in 2018, 2017 and 2016 included, $164 million, $162 million and $65 million, respectively, for the amortization of acquired Rexam intangibles.

 

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Table of Contents

Selling, General and Administrative

 

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were $478 million in 2018 compared to $514 million in 2017 and $512 million in 2016. These amounts represented 4 percent, 5 percent and 6 percent of consolidated net sales for those three years, respectively. Contributing to the lower SG&A expenses in 2018 were reduced employee compensation costs, favorable currency exchange rate effects, lower costs due to office closures and other cost-out initiatives implemented by the company in relation to the acquired Rexam business. The lower percentage of SG&A expense in 2017 as compared to 2016 was primarily due to office closures and various other cost-out initiatives implemented by the company in relation to the acquired Rexam business and the lack of foreign exchange losses of $27 million for the devaluation of the Egyptian pound in the fourth quarter of 2016.

 

Business Consolidation Costs and Other Activities

 

Business consolidation and other activities were $191 million in 2018 compared to $221 million in 2017 and $337 million in 2016. These amounts represented 2 percent, 2 percent and 4 percent of consolidated net sales for the three years, respectively.

 

The year-over-year decrease in business consolidation and other activities in 2018 compared to 2017 was primarily due to lower severance and facility shut down costs, lower costs related to lower settlement charges related to certain Ball U.S. defined pension plans, a gain on Brazilian indirect taxes and a gain on the sale of our former Chatsworth, California, beverage packing facility, partially offset by the loss on sale of the U.S. steel food and steel aerosol business. See Note 6 located in Item 8 of this annual report for additional information on the activity in business consolidation and other activities.

 

The year-over-year decrease in business consolidation and other activities in 2017 compared to 2016 was primarily due to a decrease of $322 million in Rexam transaction related costs and $83 million of Rexam acquisition related compensation arrangements and a decrease of $173 million in foreign currency exchange losses associated with the Rexam transaction. These impacts were partially offset by a decrease of $289 million in the gain recognized in connection with the sale of the Ball portion of the Divestment Business, an increase of $99 million related to completed and pending plant closures, an increase of $44 million related to the settlement of certain Ball U.S. defined benefit pension plans and an increase of $34 million for indemnification of certain tax matters provided to the buyer in the sale of the Divestment Business. See Note 6 located in Item 8 of this annual report for additional information on the activity in business consolidation and other activities.

 

Interest Expense

 

Total interest expense was $302 million in 2018 compared to $288 million in 2017 and $338 million in 2016. Excluding debt refinancing and other costs, interest expense in 2018 was higher than in 2017 due to higher interest rates, partially offset by lower average debt. Interest expense was higher in 2017 as compared to 2016 as the average level of debt held was higher than the period preceding it. Interest expense, excluding the effect of debt refinancing and other costs, as a percentage of average monthly borrowings was 4 percent in each of the years 2018, 2017 and 2016.

 

Debt refinancing and other costs were $1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, $3 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, and $109 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. The amount for the year ended 2016 consisted mainly of costs incurred to fund the Rexam acquisition. See Notes 15 and 21 in Item 8 of this annual report for additional information on these instruments and the transactions flowing through debt refinancing and other costs.

 

Tax Provision

 

The effective tax rate is affected by recurring items such as income earned in foreign jurisdictions with tax rates that differ from the U.S. tax rate and by discrete items that may occur in any given year but are not consistent from year to year.

 

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The 2018 effective income tax rate was 29.2 percent compared to 32.1 percent for 2017. The 2018 effective rate was reduced by 7.2 percent for the final adjustments related to the enactment of U.S. tax reform in 2017, including the impact of the transition tax and remeasurement of the company’s net deferred tax asset in the U.S., and increased by 8.8 percent for discrete tax costs associated with certain business dispositions. The effective rate was also increased by 2.4 percent for the new tax on GILTI established with U.S. tax reform. The effective rate was increased by 3.2 percent for the impact of the foreign tax rate differential, net of valuation allowance impact, and tax holidays versus the U.S. tax rate, and further increased by 4.0 percent for the impact of foreign currency fluctuations on the company’s deferred tax assets in Brazil. The 2018 effective rate was also reduced by 2.1 percent for the excess tax benefit for stock-based compensation and by 1.2 percent for the impact of the U.S. R&D credit. The impact of U.S. tax reform (excluding GILTI), and discrete tax costs associated with certain business dispositions are primarily related to discrete transactions or changes in tax law that are not expected to recur in future periods.  

 

The 2017 effective income tax rate was 32.1 percent compared to negative 100.8 percent for 2016. The 2017 effective rate was increased by 16.1 percent for U.S. tax reform, including the impact of the transition tax and remeasurement of the company’s net deferred tax asset in the U.S., and by 3.5 percent for discrete tax costs associated with certain business dispositions. The effective rate was reduced by 7.2 percent for the impact of the foreign tax rate differential, net of valuation allowance impact, and tax holidays versus the U.S. tax rate and by 5.4 percent for the impact of current year changes in various foreign tax laws including the U.K. The 2017 effective rate was also reduced by 3.1 percent for the discrete tax benefit associated with the adoption in the first quarter of 2017 of amendments to existing accounting guidance for stock-based compensation, by 1.8 percent for the impact of the U.S. R&D credit, and by 1.6 percent for the impact of the U.S. domestic manufacturing deduction.    

 

Further details of taxes on income and the impacts of the U.S. tax reform are included in Note 16 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this annual report.

 

RESULTS OF BUSINESS SEGMENTS

 

Segment Results

 

Ball’s operations are organized and reviewed by management along its product lines and geographical areas and its operating results are presented in the four reportable segments discussed below.

 

Beverage Packaging, North and Central America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

($ in millions)

    

 

2018

    

2017

    

2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

 

$

4,626

 

$

4,178

 

$

3,612

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparable operating earnings

 

 

 

551

 

 

533

 

 

469

 

Business consolidation and other activities (a)

 

 

 

(6)

 

 

(47)

 

 

(20)

 

Amortization of acquired Rexam intangibles

 

 

 

(31)

 

 

(32)

 

 

(11)

 

Catch-up depreciation and amortization for 2016 from finalization of Rexam valuation (b)

 

 

 

 —

 

 

(6)

 

 

 —

 

Cost of sales associated with Rexam inventory step-up

 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

(10)

 

Total segment earnings

 

 

$

514

 

$

448

 

$

428

 

Comparable operating earnings as a % of segment net sales

 

 

 

12

%  

 

13

%  

 

13

%


(a)

Further details of these items are included in Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this annual report.

(b)

Catch-up depreciation and amortization of $6 million related to the six months ended December 31, 2016, was recorded during 2017, as a result of the finalization of fixed asset and intangible asset valuations and useful lives for the Rexam acquisition.

 

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The beverage packaging, North and Central America, segment consists of operations located in the U.S., Canada and Mexico that manufacture aluminum containers used in beverage packaging. In order to serve growing customer demand for specialty cans in the southwestern U.S., the company constructed a four-line beverage packaging facility in Goodyear, Arizona, which began production in the second quarter of 2018. Our Birmingham, Alabama, facility ceased production during the second quarter of 2018 and the Chatsworth, California, and Longview, Texas, facilities ceased production during the third quarter of 2018. Our beverage can manufacturing facility in Reidsville, North Carolina, ceased production at the end of June 2017. The company’s Bristol, Virginia, beverage end-making facility ceased production at the end of June 2016, and its capacity was transitioned to existing North American Ball end-making facilities. These facilities produced beverage cans and ends in a variety of sizes and their customers are now supplied by the company’s other U.S. facilities. During the first quarter of 2016, our beverage manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico, began production.

 

Segment sales in 2018 were $448 million higher compared to 2017. The increase in 2018 was primarily due to higher metal input prices of $285 million, higher pricing, favorable sales mix, and other pass-through items. We cannot predict the impact on sales that will result from future changes in metal input prices.

 

Segment sales in 2017 were $566 million higher compared to 2016. The increase in 2017 was primarily due to $350 million of higher volumes, primarily attributed to the Rexam acquisition, and $176 million from the pass through of higher metal prices. Sales in 2017 included twelve months of sales volumes from the acquired Rexam business compared to 2016 which included six months of sales volumes from the acquired Rexam business. 

 

Comparable operating earnings in 2018 were $18 million higher compared to 2017 primarily due to favorable sales mix, higher pricing and savings from plant closures, partially offset by higher freight charges, costs associated with our multi-plant network optimization program, costs associated with a U.S. aluminum can sheet quality issue and plant start-up costs.

 

Comparable operating earnings in 2017 were $64 million higher compared to 2016 primarily due to higher sales volume, largely attributed to the Rexam acquisition, favorable product mix, cost savings from the closure of the Reidsville facility and other synergy-related activities, partially offset by higher freight costs and increased depreciation. Earnings in 2017 included twelve months of sales volumes from the acquired Rexam business compared to 2016 which included six months of sales volumes from the acquired Rexam business.

 

Beverage Packaging, South America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

($ in millions)

 

2018

    

2017

    

2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

1,701

 

$

1,692

 

$

1,014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparable operating earnings

 

 

313

 

 

333

 

 

185

 

Business consolidation and other activities (a)

 

 

11

 

 

(5)

 

 

(15)

 

Amortization of acquired Rexam intangibles

 

 

(56)

 

 

(56)

 

 

(17)

 

Catch-up depreciation and amortization for 2016 from finalization of Rexam valuation (b)

 

 

 —

 

 

(14)

 

 

 —

 

Cost of sales associated with Rexam inventory step-up

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

(20)

 

Total segment earnings

 

$

268

 

$

258

 

$

133

 

Comparable operating earnings as a % of segment net sales

 

 

18

%  

 

20

%  

 

18

%


(a)

Further details of these items are included in Note 6 to the consolidated financial statements within Item 8 of this annual report.

(b)

Catch-up depreciation and amortization of $14 million related to the six months ended December 31, 2016, was recorded during 2017, as a result of the finalization of fixed asset and intangible asset valuations and useful lives for the Rexam acquisition.

 

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The beverage packaging, South America, segment consists of operations located in Brazil, Argentina and Chile that manufacture aluminum containers used in beverage packaging in most countries in South America. To support contracted volumes for aluminum beverage packaging across Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia, the company is constructing a one-line beverage can and end manufacturing facility in Paraguay, and is adding capacity to our Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile, facilities. The Paraguay facility is expected to begin production in the second half of 2019.  The company ceased operations at its Cuiabá, Brazil, beverage packaging facility in July 2018 and has relocated equipment from the Cuiabá facility to other existing facilities in South America. 

 

Segment sales in 2018 were $9 million higher compared to 2017. The increase in 2018 was primarily related to higher can volumes and favorable product mix, partially offset by loss of certain business and the loss of several days of sales resulting from a Brazilian trucking labor strike.

 

Comparable operating earnings in 2018 were $20 million lower compared to 2017 primarily related to the conclusion of the end sales agreement with the business divested in 2016, regional pricing pressures and the loss of sales resulting from the Brazilian trucking labor strike, offset by an increase in can volumes and favorable manufacturing performance.

 

Segment sales and comparable operating earnings in 2017 included twelve months of sales volumes from the acquired Rexam business compared to 2016 which included six months of sales volumes from the acquired Rexam business and six months of sales volumes from the company’s legacy business, the significant portion of which was sold with the Divestment Business.

 

Segment sales in 2017 were $678 million higher compared to 2016. The increase in 2017 was primarily due to $545 million in higher volumes, largely attributed to the Rexam acquisition, to organic growth and to additional revenue from the end sales agreement with a business associated with the June 2016 acquisition of Rexam that transitioned to the divested business during the first half of 2018.  The higher sales also included $158 million from the pass-through of higher metal prices. 

 

Comparable operating earnings in 2017 were $148 million higher compared to 2016 primarily due to higher sales volumes, largely attributed to the Rexam acquisition, the end sales agreement with a business associated with the June 2016 acquisition of Rexam, and favorable product mix. 

 

Beverage Packaging, Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Years Ended December 31,

 

($ in millions)

 

2018

    

2017

    

2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net sales

 

$

2,619

 

$

2,360

 

$

1,915