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Fate of PPG plant to be decided in fall

Post Time:Jul 21,2008Classify:Company NewsView:356

For the second time in less than a year, a new buyer has been found for the PPG Canada windshield factory in Hawkesbury. However, uncertainty continues to hang over the plant, one of the largest industries in the district.

A decision on the fate of the local operation will likely be taken in the fall.

“We have been sold again,” observed Bill Hall, manager of the local operation which now employs about 200.

The future of the automobile glass division will be decided once the sale of the operations has been finalized in the autumn, says Jack Mauer, head of communications at PPG Industries head office in Pittsburgh. “The sale will be closed in the third quarter. The new company will then decide the future of that division,” says Mauer.

Last week, PPG Industries announced it had agreed to sell a controlling stake in its automotive glass business to a new company formed by investment firm Kohlberg & Co. LLC, of Mount Kisco, New York, for $330 million. PPG will hold a 40 per cent interest in the new firm.

“This transaction is another positive step forward in our portfolio transformation,” said Charles E. Bunch, PPG chairman and chief executive officer. “It enables us to focus more on coatings and specialty products, and significantly reduces PPG’s exposure to the U.S. automotive market.”

Last fall, PPG thought it had reached a deal to sell the glass division to Platinum Equity, of Beverly Hills, California. But Platinum stopped the sale and sued PPG, alleging that PPG had provided inaccurate information about the division’s financial situation. The Hawkesbury PPG factory produces windshields for Mercedes and Opel in Europe, General Motors in Oshawa, Honda in Alliston and Chrysler in Windsor.

The industry, which at one time employed 500, has been gradually reducing operations in recent years. Earlier this year, unionized employees accepted a two-year extension of their collective agreement, freezing wages at least until 2010. Workers agreed to the contract concessions in order to reduce the plant’s operating costs and to save their jobs. Many long-time workers have been laid off at the plant, where the average wage has been about $25 an hour.

Source: PPG Industries, Inc.Author: admin

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