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Pilkington profits up

UK glassmaker Pilkington Plc said on 30 May it expected to report further progress next year, as it reported a third consecutive year of profits growth, but added that glass markets were weakening and…

UK glassmaker Pilkington Plc said on 30 May it expected to report further progress next year, as it reported a third consecutive year of profits growth, but added that glass markets were weakening and conditions uncertain. Pre-exceptional, pre-tax profits rose 23% to GBP 216 million in the year to 31 March, with turnover from continuing operations up 7% at GBP 2.8 billion. The company declared a final dividend of 3.25 pence, maintaining last year“s total of five pence per share for the year. Pilkington, which has undergone a major restructuring programme over the past four years, said that it was seeing a weakened market for glass and that activity in the US building market was significantly lower than a year ago. There were also signs that European markets were softening and rising energy prices would add a further GBP 30 million to the group“s cost base next year. But despite that, it expected to report further progress next year, because of changes made at the company over the past four years. Pilkington“s restructuring involved cutting jobs, consolidating operations and selling some peripheral businesses to focus on adding more value-added glass products to its business and better meet the needs of customers who increasingly seek single suppliers that offer more assembly options. “These impressive results demonstrate the success of our step change restructuring programme over the last few years,” said Chairman Nigel Rudd in a statement. “Demand for float glass has been at a high level throughout the year and glass prices strengthened significantly as the year progressed. All float glass plants in Europe have been running at full capacity, and supply has continued to be tight for most products and markets. ” “The rising cost of energy, particularly natural gas, has been a feature almost everywhere but the strong business performance has more than absorbed this impact. ” “Pilkington today is a very different company from that of four years ago and, despite uncertain economic conditions in some of our major markets, we expect another year of progress in 2001/2002,” he said.

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