Nippon Sheet Glass Ambition Pays Off

Nippon Sheet Glass, which acquired the UK’s Pilkington for £2.2bn last year, on Wednesday said its aggressive global expansion was paying off as it reported a stronger-than-expected jump in first-half earnings.

The Japanese glassmaker said operating profit nearly doubled to Y27bn in the six months to September compared to the combined results of NSG and Pilkington a year earlier. Its shares rose 4.2 per cent as the increase appeared to justify its decision to spend heavily to break out of slow-growth Japan.

Price rises in Europe and strong sales in South America and other emerging markets drove the profits, which were higher than the company and analysts had forecast.

Shinya Yamada, analyst at Credit Suisse, said NSG’s full-year net profit forecast of Y53bn, which the company left unchanged, now looked “conservative” in spite of deepening problems in the US and Japanese construction sectors.

“Growth in emerging markets should offset slowdowns elsewhere,” he said.

The Japanese glassmaker’s highly leveraged purchase of Pilkington – a much larger company – turned what had been a mainly domestic producer into a global giant with 34,000 employees and sales in 130 countries.

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