PPG Q4 profit doubles to $142m on cost cuts

21 January 2010 14:54  [Source: ICIS news]

PPG profits doubleTORONTO (ICIS news)--PPG Industries’ fourth-quarter net income doubled to $142m (€101m) from the same period a year ago, largely resulting from cost reduction measures, the US-based chemicals and coatings producer said on Thursday.

The company also noted a "gradual demand improvement" but said that overall sales for the three months ended 31 December were still down 2% to $3.1bn.

“The global recession was both steep and broad, and it adversely affected many of our end-use markets,” said chief executive Charles Bunch.

“While our earnings still have not fully recovered, I am pleased with the pace of our improvement given the continued challenges in the global economy,” he said.

PPG had reacted to the downturn by implementing aggressive restructuring and cost-reduction actions, he said.

In terms of segmental performance, the improved fourth-quarter profit was largely driven by the company’s coatings as well as its optical and specialty materials businesses, it said.

Industrial coatings posted $89m fourth-quarter earnings, versus a $40m loss in the year-ago period, as segment sale rose 12% to $859m.

However, PPG’s chemicals commodities earnings were $8m, down by $80m from $88m in the year-earlier period as that segment's sales fell 27% to $306m, from $419m.

Regionally, PPG recorded 25% sales growth in Asia-Pacific on the back of higher industrial demand, it said.

PPG was “guardedly optimistic,”regarding 2010, Bunch said.

He pointed to expected additional savings from already completed restructuring measures, the company’s strong cash position and its strong presence in growing markets in Asia.

After the earnings release, PPG shares dropped sharply in early Thursday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, falling $2.41, or 3.8%, to $60.72/share.

($1 = €0.71)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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