US-based packaging firm Ball has reported an increase in sales to $3.5bn in the second quarter of the year, compared to $2.8bn in the same period last year.

The company’s net earnings for the quarter stood at $202m. This figure, recorded on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis, is a substantial increase from the $94m net earnings reported last year.

Ball’s comparable earnings for each diluted share during the quarter were $0.86, as against $0.65 in the second quarter of last year.

For the year-to-date, the company’s comparable earnings for each diluted share were $1.58, an increase from the $1.26 recorded last year.

The company’s second-quarter earnings were driven by its packaging businesses in North and Central America and the Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) region, which contributed $193m and $124m respectively.

In response to these positive results, Ball has raised its dividend by 33% and started share repurchases of at least $500m.

Ball chairman and CEO John Hayes said: “During the quarter, the company increased [its] comparable earnings [for each] diluted share by 32% on 13% aluminium beverage volume growth and 20% aluminium aerosol growth and secured new aerospace contracts to achieve record backlog.

“In addition to global operations executing at a high level, the company started up the new Pittston, Pennsylvania, beverage can manufacturing facility, initiated further global capacity investments and successfully launched The Aluminium Cup at retail in the US.

“Global projects in North America, South America and EMEA are supported by long-term contracts and will contribute meaningfully to [this year] and beyond.”

Last month, Ball announced plans to build aluminium beverage packaging plants in the UK and Russia.

The company also plans to begin production at its new aluminium end-manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in the fourth quarter of this year.