SummaryStuart Chambers, Group Chief Executive commented:"As has been the case for some time, trading conditions remain challenging in most of our major markets.Nevertheless, our achievements in improving the competitiveness of our manufacturing base, which is now as robust as any of our competitors, means that we are now much more resilient. Trading has been in line with expectations and our headline profitability is set to see a continuation of the consistent level reported in each of the last two financial half-years. In addition our renewed emphasis on free cash flow generation will enable us to report our strongest cash performance since 1994."
Pilkington continues to benefit from a progressive shift toward higher value added products in both Building Products and Automotive markets. We have seen increased usage of energy saving Pilkington 'K' glass in the UK, while sales of advanced fire protection products continue to increase in importance. Despite being launched in an economic downturn, uptake of Pilkington Activ self-cleaning glass is steadily rising and we remain optimistic about the long term prospects for this exciting product. Construction of the fourth float line in Brazil, to be operated by Cebrace, our joint venture with Saint Gobain, continues. Start-up has been postponed because of economic conditions in Brazil and the plant is now planned to begin production next year.