PPG: sales of Transitions lenses lift profit

PPG“s fourth-quarter profit was boosted by strong sales of Transitions eyeglass lenses and commodity chemicals, and company executives hinted that the USD 2 billion cash hoard could be used for acqui…

PPG“s fourth-quarter profit was boosted by strong sales of Transitions eyeglass lenses and commodity chemicals, and company executives hinted that the USD 2 billion cash hoard could be used for acquisitions. The company“s results and growth plan highlight an improving global economy as demand continues to increase for the paints and glass that are PPG“s traditional products. Sales rose in five out of the company“s six business units, with the European arm of the architectural coatings unit being the only exception. “Looking ahead to 2011, we anticipate that the global economic recovery will strengthen and broaden,” PPG chief executive Charlie Bunch said in a recent statement. “This should drive volume increases for PPG, which we expect to leverage into higher earnings through our continued cost focus.” Pittsburgh-based PPG reported net income of USD 205 million, or USD 1.24 per share, compared with USD 142 million, or 85 cents per share, in the same period of the previous year. Excluding asbestos charges, PPG earned USD 1.25 per share. Revenue increased 8.4% to USD 3.38 billion, while analysts had expected USD 3.29 billion. Sales in the company“s optical and speciality materials group, which makes the Transitions lenses, were up 9.4%, and sales of commodity chemicals increased 15.7%. According to Bunch, the company intends to use its USD 2 billion in cash and short-term investment for “several initiatives” that would “grow earnings.”