PPG Q4 profit rises around 50%

PPG Industries on Thursday reported that profits improved nearly 50 percent in the fourth quarter due to higher prices and stronger demand for many of its specialty coatings, paints, specialty stains and other chemicals.

The company also cited cost controls and manufacturing efficiencies as factors in the profit gains.

Shares of the Pittsburg-based company (were higher throughout much of the session, but later closed 7 cents lower at $66.44.

PPG, which sells paints under the Lucite and Monarch brand names, reported fourth-quarter net income of $183 million, or $1.06 per share, up sharply from $122 million, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier.

The Thomson First Call analysts' consensus called for earnings per share of $1.02.

Sales improved to $2.4 billion from about $2.2 billion.

The company said its latest results reflect after-tax charges of $3 million, or 1 cent a share, for a stock-options expense and charges of $6 million, or 3 cents a share, to cover obligations under its May, 2002 asbestos settlement agreement.

"We delivered a record fourth-quarter performance primarily because of higher volumes in all our businesses, higher selling prices for our commodity chemicals and strong manufacturing efficiencies, producing higher operating margins despite significantly higher raw material and energy costs," said Raymond W. LeBoeuf, chairman and chief executive officer.

By division, PPG said coatings sales rose 7 percent to $88 million, while other chemicals sales jumped 32 percent to $135 million, and fiber and flat glass products sales increased 3 percent to $13 million.

600450 PPG Q4 profit rises around 50% glassonweb.com

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