The figure, recorded on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis, is a substantial increase from the $23m net earnings recorded by Ball in the same period of last year.

The company posted sales of $3.1bn in the quarter, compared to $2.8bn in the prior-year period.

Its comparable net earnings stood at $240m, compared with $202m a year earlier.

Ball increased its comparable earnings per diluted share by 18%, on an 8% global beverage volume growth, whilst maintaining a robust aerospace backlog.

The company said that its Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) and South American beverage can businesses saw ‘stronger’ comparable earnings.

During the quarter, Ball’s new beverage can manufacturing facility in Glendale, Arizona, began production. The company also began distributing its Ball Aluminum Cup in retail stores across the US.

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Ball CEO and chairman John A Hayes said: “Positive momentum continues across our company, despite anticipated startup costs and isolated operational impacts in our North American beverage can business due to winter storms and aerospace customer supply-chain disruptions experienced in the quarter.

“Global projects in North America, South America and EMEA are expected to add at least 25 billion units of contracted beverage can capacity by the end of 2023, off a 2019 base of 100 billion units.

“Projects are on track and will contribute meaningfully to this year and beyond.

“Our focus remains on our employees’ safety, training and development, the efficient startups of economic value added (EVA) enhancing capital projects to serve our customers’ growth, the successful retail launch of the Ball Aluminum Cup, and delivering value to our stakeholders this year and beyond.”

Ball said that significant demand growth for sustainable aluminium packaging continues to outstrip supply. The company expects global demand for its aluminium packaging to increase.

This year, the company is allocating more than $1.5bn in capital to support EVA-enhancing projects at returns of more than the 9% after-tax hurdle.

Ball executive vice president and chief financial officer Scott C Morrison said: “As our cash from operations continues to increase and we maintain optimal net debt to comparable earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) ratios, we will accelerate the return of value to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases.”

Last December, Ball partnered with Coors Light to introduce the Ball Aluminum Cup at Last Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.