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Crown focused on emerging Asian markets

The chairman and CEO of Crown, John Conway, says the company’s emerging market expansion plans remain “robust and exciting” following the release of its first quarter results.

The can maker’s new plant in Putian, China, was commercialised in the first quarter. Conway says Crown also expect to start production at its new plant in Ziyang, China, as well as complete expansion at its plant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, during the second quarter.

Crown achieved strong results for the first quarter with net sales rising to $1,947 million, a 3.5% increase on the $1,882 million it achieved in the first quarter of 2011.

This increase was primarily driven by increased global beverage can sales with volumes rising by 7%.

First quarter gross profit was $287 million compared to $292 million in the first quarter of 2011, reflecting 2011 inventory holding gains that did not recur in 2012 and $4 million from unfavorable foreign currency translation, partially offset by increased global beverage can sales unit volumes.

Commenting on the quarter, John Conway, chairman and CEO, said: “I am pleased to report that 2012 has started well and on target. Beverage can volumes were up 7% on top of a 6% increase in the first quarter last year, primarily driven by improved volumes in Europe and from recent capacity expansion projects and strong demand in Brazil, Southeast Asia and China. Our North American food can business enjoyed increased volumes over the same period last year while our European three-piece steel packaging businesses were impacted by the economic uncertainties in Europe.

Emerging markets

“Our pipeline of emerging market growth projects for beverage cans remains robust and exciting. During the first quarter, our new plant in Putian, China was commercialised and is on its scheduled learning curve,” he adds. “During the second quarter we expect to begin production at our new plant in Ziyang, China as well as complete the expansion of our plant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We expect to commence commercial operations at new plants in Osmaniye, Turkey in the second quarter and Heshan, China in the third quarter.

“Demand for our products is being driven by a growing middle class and increasing disposable income in these markets. We continue to closely monitor demand and trends in all of our markets and are committed to conservative deployment of capital.”

Net income attributable to Crown in the first quarter was $69 million, compared to $16 million in the first quarter of 2011. Earnings per diluted share were $0.46 in the first quarter of 2012 compared to $0.10 in 2011. Net income per diluted share before certain items was $0.46 compared to $0.48 in 2011.

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