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PPG standing by glass business, for now

Post Time:Apr 20,2012Classify:Company NewsView:243

 

PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG) will continue to be patient with its glass business — a segment that is no longer the core as the company focuses on coatings, optical and specialty materials — but isn’t ruling out a sale, Chairman and CEO Charles Bunch told industry analysts Thursday while discussing the company's first quarter results.

 

The segment had the lowest operating margin in the first quarter at 3.1 percent versus the highest margin business, optical and specialty materials, at 32.6 percent. Bunch described the segments first quarter performance as disappointing but said the company would wait for more of a recovery in the market.

 

“Absent a really attractive offer that creates value we are going to be patient and wait for what we think is the good timing,” he told an analyst that posed the question of a possible sale. “We don’t need the cash right now, but, we are open to listen to opportunities if there are really interested parties in the business, in either business.”

 

The company’s glass segment consists of fiber glass and flat glass production. In 2008 the company, which was founded in 1883 as a plate glass maker, sold its auto glass business as part of a larger diversification strategy.

 

Bunch said this diversification has been the focus of the company for the last four to five years as it works to be recognized as a coatings and specialty company.

 

Looking at the overall economy, Bunch said he is optimistic about the economic recovery in the U.S. especially looking at PPG’s customers in the aerospace and automotive markets. The low cost of natural gas in the U.S. is also a benefit to the company, he said, adding that natural gas has been “the gift that keeps on giving.”

 

For every dollar saved in natural gas the company benefits about $50 million to $60 million, he said.

 

In terms of the European market, Bunch said he expects the overall market to be down slightly depending on which country and which market. “There are more countries that are weaker than are stronger,” he said.

 

Source: http://www.bizjournals.comAuthor: shangyi

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