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Ball to expand US can production in 2021 amid rising aluminum packaging demands

Highlights

Georgia, Texas, Arizona plants to ramp up output in H2 2020

Brazilian beverage can plant to begin operations in Q4

  • Author
  • Nick Lazzaro
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  • Keiron Greenhalgh
  • Commodity
  • Metals

Pittsburgh — Ball expects two specialty beverage can plants to begin operations in Arizona and the northeastern US in 2021 to meet surging demand for aluminum packaging as industries shift away from plastic, CEO John Hayes said Thursday.

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"With global customer and consumer demand for aluminum packaging solutions continuing to outpace existing supply, our previously announced aluminum beverage can and cup projects will add at least 8 billion units of capacity by the end of 2021," Hayes said in a statement Thursday.

Hayes told investors during a conference call that the new US facilities are part of the company's larger worldwide investments in new aluminum packaging production to meet increasing demand for aluminum cans, bottles and cups in recent years.

"Three years ago, a third of all new products coming out were in cans, but today it's 70%, and that's a meaningful jump," Hayes said.

Ball's two new plants, each of which will operate two can lines, represent further production expansion in the US following the addition of can lines at three of the company's existing facilities in Georgia, Texas and Arizona in the second half of 2020, Senior Vice President Daniel Fisher said.

Combined, the new plants and extra can lines at existing facilities in the US alone will produce an additional 6 billion units beyond Ball's current output, Fisher added.

In a statement, Ball said a new multi-line beverage can plant will start production in Brazil during the fourth quarter of 2020, adding to the company's new beverage can manufacturing plant in Paraguay that began operations in late October to meet demand in South America. The company said demand in South America was also on the rise as various beverage producers began utilizing aluminum cans for an increasing number of product categories, including wine, sparkling beverages, spiked seltzers, mixed drinks and water.

The Colorado-based specialty aluminum product manufacturer will also launch new beverage can lines at several of its European plants in 2020.

Ball's net income totaled $566 million on sales of $11.5 billion in 2019, up from a profit of $454 million on sales of $11.6 billion in 2018.

The company reported its largest full-year growth in its aerospace segment, with aluminum product sales reaching $1.5 billion in 2019, up nearly 25% from sales of $1.2 billion in 2018.