The company said market conditions remained challenging, with trading profits at its building products division expected to show a 20pc fall for the year to March.But Stuart Chambers, chief executive, said the group's manufacturing base was now "as robust as any of our competitors".Pilkington shares, which hit a 20-year low of 43.25p earlier this month, gained 2.75 to 52.75.
Mr Chambers said: "Trading has been in line with expectations. In addition, our renewed emphasis on free cashflow generation will enable us to report our strongest cash performance since 1994."
He said he expected to deliver on promises, made last May, that free cashflow would cover the dividend and leave "a little bit left over".
Mr Chambers was cautious about the coming year, assuming the market products market would remain "flat at best" and building products would also show no improvement.
He was "comfortable" with analysts' expectations for profit before goodwill and exceptionals of about £150m for this year and next.