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Crown Holdings 2Q Profit Up 6.7% As Global Volumes Grow

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Crown Holdings Inc.'s (CCK) second-quarter profit grew 6.7% on higher sales and lower costs as global can volumes continued to increase. The can manufacturer's earnings matched Wall Street's expectations but revenue was below analysts' estimate. Chairman and Chief Executive John Conway said the results "were driven by improved global volumes across all product lines." Demand for Crown's products has held up well in the U.S. as more cash-strapped consumers turn to packaged foods they eat at home. And metal containers remain a growing business in many parts of the world. Crown, which has reduced its debt and extended maturities, has been expanding in emerging markets, especially Brazil and Southeast Asia, as it continues to diversify its geographic footprint and product mix. For the latest quarter, Crown reported a profit of $112 million, or 69 cents a share, up from $105 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings rose to 67 cents from 66 cents. Revenue slid 2.2% to $2.01 billion. Changes in currency values added $17 million to the total. Analysts estimated earnings of 67 cents on revenue of $2.1 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. Gross margin rose to 16.7% from 16.2% on higher sales volumes and cost-cutting. Beverage-can sales unit volumes rose 8% worldwide--growing for the second quarter in a row--and 10% in North America. Net sales decreased in every segment except the largest, Americas beverage, where they grew 15%. Earnings increased 18% in the Americas beverage segment and 14% in North America food but fell 15% in European beverage and 17% in European food. Crown's shares were down 0.3% at $25.78 in after-hours trading. The stock, which reached a 52-week low in May, was up 1% as of the close. -By Kathy Shwiff, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2357; Kathy.Shwiff@dowjones.com

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