Pilkington says price increases essential

Pilkington, Britain“s biggest glassmaker, has all but disappeared since undergoing a GBP 2.2 billion takeover by Nippon Sheet Glass in 2006. However, the company has recently attracted some undesired…

Pilkington, Britain“s biggest glassmaker, has all but disappeared since undergoing a GBP 2.2 billion takeover by Nippon Sheet Glass in 2006. However, the company has recently attracted some undesired attention after upping its prices by 134pc in just one year. Clients of Pilkington were notified about the news the last week of June, which involved the third important increase in 12 months, raising the cost of its most popular product by 20pc as of 19 July. The company had previously indicated that the price increases were essential as glass manufacturing and supply had become uneconomical and that the company was “losing money“. In fact, the last accounts filed at Companies House for Pilkington United Kingdom Limited for the year to 31 March 2009 show it made a pre-tax loss of GBP 4.6 million – a huge fall from the profit of GBP 43.3 million the previous year. During the same period, sales also dropped 5.3pc to GBP 288.9 million. Since the takeover by NSG in 2006, the finances of Pilkington“s Japanese parent recorded an annual net loss of GBP 313 million, which was even worse than the loss of GBP 215 million the previous year. NSG Group accounts cite “ difficult“ conditions in its European markets, also noting that its European business, which includes Pilkington, reported an operating loss of more than GBP 104 million in 2009, compared with operating income of GBP 17.4 million a year earlier. Causes are to be found in the slump in demand for building products for the construction industry, and toughened glass for the automotive industry, with Pilkington closing down sites and cutting 1,000 jobs over the last few years. Pilkington has put forward three big increases since it went into the red in the year to March 2009: the first – a rise of up to 50pc – in June 2009; a second 30pc increase in September 2009, followed by this 20pc to be introduced later in July.