US-based packaging company Ball has reported comparable operating earnings of $417m for the third quarter (Q3) of 2021, flat against a year earlier and up by 13% from 2019.

The company’s third-quarter diluted earnings per share (EPS) were $0.94, a 6% increase from $0.89 in Q3 2020.

Ball’s beverage packaging units in North and Central America reported comparable operating earnings of $186m on sales of $1.5bn, compared to $209m earnings on sales of $1.3bn last year.

In Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA), the company’s comparable segment operating earnings for the quarter were $125m, compared to $117m in Q3 2020.

During the quarter, Ball’s South America comparable segment operating earnings were $74m, up from $64m a year earlier.

Ball is due to launch aluminium cups at certain major retailers in the fourth quarter.

The company also said that it had signed a contract for the cups with an unspecified foodservice and hospitality firm.

Ball expects to surpass its long-term diluted EPS growth goal of between 10% and 15% for the full fiscal year and beyond.

Ball chairman and CEO John Hayes said: “During the quarter, the company increased comparable earnings per diluted share by 6%, managed numerous supply chain inefficiencies and continued to hire and position talent to support multi-year growth initiatives.

“Underlying demand for our sustainable aluminium packaging portfolio and aerospace technologies continues to outstrip supply, and our various growth projects around the world are supported by long-term contracts for committed volume with effective cost recovery mechanisms.

“Coupled with the successful start-up of these new facilities, we are well-positioned to meaningfully grow our long-term diluted earnings per share, economic value added (EVA) dollars, cash from operations and return significant value to our shareholders over time in the form of dividends and share repurchases.”

In September, Ball announced plans to develop an aluminium beverage packaging plant in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

The company recently began operations at its facilities in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Frutal, Brazil.