Glass firm Pilkington begins to shine

Pilkington one of the world's largest glass makers, has reported an increase in demand from builders and car makers despite market conditions remaining 'challenging'.

The Merseyside-based firm forecast a 20% rise in half-year profits today as it remained on track to meet expectations for annual results.

It added that ongoing progress in manufacturing efficiency and cost reduction had also helped. It expects first-half profits to rise by 20%, although this performance was helped by the timing of money banked from the licensing of its technology.

The company's trading update stated: 'The market background remains challenging, made more so with rising energy costs, however solid progress is being made in automotive and the group expects to meet market expectations for the full year.'

Analysts have pencilled in a profits figure of £196.2m for the 12 months to the end of March, compared with £184m a year earlier. The performance reflects a drive to make the business more competitive, following the loss of around a third of its workforce over the past decade.

Pilkington, which employs around 24,000 people and has plants in Birmingham and Doncaster, is now expected to look for profitable growth opportunities as part of the final phase of its recovery programme.

600450 Glass firm Pilkington begins to shine
Date: 28 September 2005

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