Iridian Asset Management LLC CT Increases Stake in Ball Co. (BLL)

Iridian Asset Management LLC CT grew its position in shares of Ball Co. (NYSE:BLL) by 6.4% in the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 2,907,923 shares of the industrial products company’s stock after buying an additional 174,158 shares during the quarter. Ball makes up about 2.1% of Iridian Asset Management LLC CT’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 22nd largest holding. Iridian Asset Management LLC CT’s holdings in Ball were worth $168,252,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. BlackRock Inc. lifted its holdings in Ball by 0.8% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 21,566,169 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $991,613,000 after purchasing an additional 161,245 shares during the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in Ball by 7.6% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 4,417,275 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $202,755,000 after purchasing an additional 311,457 shares during the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its holdings in Ball by 2.5% in the 4th quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 3,720,010 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $171,047,000 after purchasing an additional 91,945 shares during the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its holdings in Ball by 2.0% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 3,336,542 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $153,414,000 after purchasing an additional 63,862 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Frontier Capital Management Co. LLC lifted its holdings in Ball by 5.8% in the 4th quarter. Frontier Capital Management Co. LLC now owns 3,077,273 shares of the industrial products company’s stock worth $141,493,000 after purchasing an additional 168,857 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 86.75% of the company’s stock.

BLL has been the subject of several analyst reports. BMO Capital Markets boosted their target price on Ball from $55.00 to $60.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 13th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on Ball from $55.00 to $63.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 17th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ball from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. UBS Group downgraded Ball from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $58.00 price target on the stock. in a research report on Friday, February 15th. Finally, KeyCorp reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Ball in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Ball currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $55.59.



NYSE BLL traded up $0.32 during trading on Tuesday, hitting $64.73. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 7,814 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,409,446. The company has a quick ratio of 0.77, a current ratio of 1.09 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.84. The company has a market cap of $20.88 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.43, a P/E/G ratio of 4.34 and a beta of 0.83. Ball Co. has a 52 week low of $34.71 and a 52 week high of $64.91.

Ball (NYSE:BLL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 2nd. The industrial products company reported $0.49 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.50 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $2.79 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.66 billion. Ball had a return on equity of 20.39% and a net margin of 3.83%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up .0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.50 earnings per share. Sell-side analysts expect that Ball Co. will post 2.61 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, June 17th. Stockholders of record on Monday, June 3rd will be given a dividend of $0.15 per share. The ex-dividend date is Friday, May 31st. This is a boost from Ball’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.10. This represents a $0.60 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.93%. Ball’s payout ratio is currently 18.18%.

Ball announced that its board has initiated a share repurchase plan on Wednesday, January 23rd that permits the company to buyback 50,000,000 outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the industrial products company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback plans are typically an indication that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, Chairman John A. Hayes sold 91,701 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, February 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $55.20, for a total transaction of $5,061,895.20. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 467,844 shares in the company, valued at $25,824,988.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, VP Robert D. Strain sold 5,066 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.93, for a total value of $278,275.38. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 47,747 shares in the company, valued at $2,622,742.71. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders have sold 125,833 shares of company stock worth $7,031,478. 1.80% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

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About Ball

Ball Corp. provides metal packaging for beverages, foods and household products, and of aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers. It operates through the following business segments: Beverage Packaging, North and Central America; Beverage Packaging, South America; Beverage Packaging, Europe; Food and Aerosol Packaging; and Aerospace.

Further Reading: Mutual Funds

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ball (NYSE:BLL)

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