Glass giant toughs it out

GLASS giant Pilkington looked on the bright side of tough trading conditions yesterday after seeing a robust performance from its UKbased business.

The St Helens-based company said earlier expectations of a challenging climate had been borne out during the first six months of its financial year.But Pilkington added restructuring in the past five years had helped to improve competitiveness. and that demand in the UK remained strong.The healthy home market offset difficulties seen elsewhere in the group's European building products business.A spokesman for Pilkington said that European glass prices had been under pressure but had stabilised at around 10pc to 12pc below the average for last year.He added: "By contrast with continental Europe, the market in the UK has been robust."The picture was similar in Pilkington's European automotive division, with only the UK market showing signs of growth.Vehicle sales and production in Europe fell 4pc in the first half of the year.Despite lower vehicle production levels, Pilkington said sales had held up and that profits in the European automotive business were likely to be around last year's level because of the benefits of restructuring.The five-year overhaul, introduced by recently departed chief executive Paolo Scaroni, resulted in job losses and a reshuffle of facilities.GLASS giant Pilkington looked on the bright side of tough trading conditions yesterday after seeing a robust performance from its UKbased business.

The St Helens-based company said earlier expectations of a challenging climate had been borne out during the first six months of its financial year.

But Pilkington added restructuring in the past five years had helped to improve competitiveness. and that demand in the UK remained strong.

The healthy home market offset difficulties seen elsewhere in the group's European building products business.

A spokesman for Pilkington said that European glass prices had been under pressure but had stabilised at around 10pc to 12pc below the average for last year.

He added: "By contrast with continental Europe, the market in the UK has been robust."

The picture was similar in Pilkington's European automotive division, with only the UK market showing signs of growth.

Vehicle sales and production in Europe fell 4pc in the first half of the year.

Despite lower vehicle production levels, Pilkington said sales had held up and that profits in the European automotive business were likely to be around last year's level because of the benefits of restructuring.

The five-year overhaul, introduced by recently departed chief executive Paolo Scaroni, resulted in job losses and a reshuffle of facilities.

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