For the first quarter, the company recorded earnings from continuing operations of $0.30 per share (diluted), compared with $0.42 per share in 2016. Improved segment operating profit was offset by higher charges primarily related to restructuring and bond redemption fees.
Excluding certain items management considers not representative of ongoing operations, adjusted earnings were $0.58 per share. This was up 21% compared with prior year and exceeded guidance of $0.50 to $0.55 per share.
Net sales were $1.6 billion, up 2% from the prior year first quarter. Sales volume for the quarter was up 2% compared to the prior year, partially driven by new business development. Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America each reported sales volume growth of more than 3%.
Earnings from continuing operations before income taxes were $73 million for the first quarter compared with $101 million for the same period in 2016.
The company continues to execute on its strategic initiatives focused on commercial activities and end-to-end supply chain. The focus on total systems cost is on track to yield $35 million to $45 million in segment operating profit for the full year.
“We are pleased to announce another quarter of positive progress on our transformation and towards our investor day goals,” said CEO Andres Lopez. “We delivered organic sales growth and margin expansion through the disciplined execution of our strategy. For the full year, we are committed to achieving solid sales and earnings growth in line with our prior guidance and are confident that the improved financial and operational stability we are achieving will help us generate greater value for our shareholders.”
Global sales volumes increased 2% compared to the first quarter of 2016. Sales volume in Europe increased 4%, mainly due to higher beer shipments. In Latin America, sales volume increased 3% due to stronger shipments - primarily beer - in Mexico and the Andean region. North America sales volume declined 2%, completely due to mix. First quarter sales volume in Asia Pacific increased 4% compared to the first quarter of 2016 mainly due to increased shipments of wine in Australia and beer in Southeast Asia and the favorable geographic mix of business.
Segment operating profit was $218 million in the first quarter, 3% higher than prior year first quarter.