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29 Jan 03. Ball Corporation (NYSE: BLL – News) announced 2002 full year and fourth quarter results that were sharply higher than for the previous year. The company had full year earnings attributable to common shareholders of $159.3m, or $2.77 per diluted share, before an extraordinary item of $3.2m after tax, or six cents per diluted share, related to the early extinguishment of certain debt agreements. Sales for the year increased by 4.7 percent to $3.9bn, (2001: ($101.2m, or $1.85)), including a $205.2m after-tax charge for business consolidation costs.

Excluding those charges, the company had earnings attributable to common shareholders of $104m, or $1.78 per diluted share, in 2001 on sales of $3.7bn.
Fourth quarter earnings attributable to common shareholders in 2002 were $31.9m, or 56 cents per diluted share, before the $3.2m extraordinary item, on sales of $910m, (2001: $7.9m , or 14 cents), including a net after-tax charge of $10.5m, or 18 cents per diluted share, largely for costs to close a manufacturing plant, on sales of $843m. Excluding the charge, fourth quarter 2001 earnings attributable to common shareholders were $18.4m, or 32 cents per diluted share.

R. David Hoover, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said both the company’s packaging and aerospace segments had improved sales and earnings in 2002 and that the company took significant actions, including making the largest acquisition in its 122-year history, to position Ball for future growth.

Aerospace and technologies segment sales rose to a record $491.2m, (2001: $419m). Operating earnings in 2002 were $39.4m, (2001: $31.5m). Year-end backlog was $497m, (2001: $407m).

The latest Ball-built satellite, the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) was launched successfully on January 12 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The five-year ICESat mission is to help with understanding of global warming by measuring the height of the Earth’s polar ice masses.

During the fourth quarter Ball was awarded a major contract as part of a team to build the James Webb Space Telescope, formerly known as the Next Generation Space Telescope, which is expected to expand significantly on the knowledge and success that have come from the Hubble Space Telescope.

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