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PPG Industries reports record 4Q profit

| Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 10:40 a.m.

PPG Industries Inc. reported a record fourth-quarter profit of $227 million because of strong earnings from its coatings, optical and special materials segments.

Results were 5.1 percent higher than net income of $216 million a year ago, despite weaker earnings from the Pittsburgh company's glass segment, and equaled $1.46 a share, compared with $1.39 a year earlier.

Shares of PPG closd yesterday at $141.03, down $1.07.

Sales in the October-December quarter increased 3.7 percent to $3.65 billion from less than $3.52 billion a year before.

Separately, PPG said it is in talks with Essilor International to restructure their joint venture, Transitions Optical, which makes photochromic lenses for optical manufacturers worldwide. PPG owns a controlling interest in the venture.

PPG said the talks could result in either a sale of its interests in the joint venture to Essilor, Essilor selling its interest to PPG or a shift in the stakes between the companies. No timetable was given.

“Our record fourth-quarter results capped off an exceptional year for the company, driven by excellent operating performance and several significant strategic actions that have accelerated the pace of our portfolio transformation,” said CEO Charles Bunch in a statement.

PPG anticipates economic trends will vary by region in 2013, said Bunch, with growth continuing in North America and improving in Asia. But he foresees “subdued activity levels in Europe,” he said.

The results included an $11 million after-tax charge to account for separating its commodity chemicals business and merger with Georgia Gulf Corp. The company said the January-March quarter will include additional unspecified charges.

For 2012, PPG earned $941 million, a 14 percent decrease from $1.1 billion a year earlier. Annual sales rose 2.1 percent to $15.2 billion from about $14.9 billion.

Thomas Olson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached a 412-320-7854 or at tolson@tribweb.com.

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