Net sales in the third quarter were $3,084 million compared to $3,174 million in the third quarter of 2018 reflecting $64 million of unfavorable currency translation. Earnings per share were $1.36 versus $1.23 in 2018.
Beverage can capacity projects are on schedule.
Income from operations was $352 million in the quarter compared to $365 million in the third quarter of 2018. Segment income was $395 million in the third quarter compared to $415 million in the prior year third quarter.
“Our overall performance during the third quarter was in line with expectations,” said Timothy J. Donahue, president and CEO. “Strong operating results in the Americas Beverage segment offset a disappointing performance in the European Food business due to unfavorable weather conditions and a weaker than expected harvest. Beverage can volumes were particularly robust in Europe, Mexico and Southeast Asia, as consumers in both emerging and developed markets continue to increasingly prefer cans over other packaging options. Recently installed beverage can capacity additions, including a third line at the Company’s existing plant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a new one line high-speed plant in Parma, Italy and a new two line high-speed plant in Valencia, Spain, have helped us meet the continuing expansion in demand. In November 2019, we plan to commence operations at a new beverage can facility in Rio Verde in central Brazil.
“To meet the surge in volume requirements in our North American beverage can business, we have begun the construction of a third high-speed line at our Nichols, New York facility which will begin production during the second quarter of 2020. Also to support demand growth and targeted for a first quarter 2020 start-up, we are installing a new aluminum beverage can line at our Weston, Ontario plant. Both the Nichols and Weston lines will be capable of producing multiple sizes. In addition, we have begun construction of a new one line beverage can plant in Nong Khae, Thailand which will commence operations during the third quarter of 2020 and supply the increasing requirements of customers in the region.”
Net sales for the first nine months of 2019 increased to $8,874 million compared to $8,417 million in the first nine months of 2018 primarily due to the impact of the Signode acquisition, partially offset by $244 million of unfavorable currency translation.
Income from operations was $997 million in the first nine months of 2019 compared to $878 million in 2018. Segment income in the first nine months of 2019 increased to $1,096 million over the $1,049 million in the prior year period reflecting the impact of the Signode acquisition offset by $26 million of unfavorable currency translation. Adjusted free cash flow, as defined below, is currently expected to be approximately $725 million for 2019 with capital spending of approximately $450 million.