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October 23rd, 2012

News from the glass and refractory ceramics worlds

Published on October 23rd, 2012 | By: P. Carlo Ratto

PPG’s glass segment sales were $262 million for the third quarter 2012, down $11 million from the prior year. Higher flat glass volumes were offset by lower pricing and the negative impact of foreign currency translation. Segment earnings were $24 million, an increase of $1 million from the prior-year quarter, as strong manufacturing cost improvements were partly offset by the lower pricing and lower fiber glass equity earnings.

• New Wave Group AB and Orrefors Kosta Boda AB have decided to initiate trade union negotiations concerning extensive measures within OKB in order to create conditions for an immediate and long term profitability in the company. Included in the total measures is an extensive review of OKB’s product assortment, pricing strategies and purchasing channels. The company also plans an extensive change of strategy when it comes to business model and trademarks and intends to increase its investments in marketing. As a consequence of the proposed measures, OKB intends to reduce its workforce by approximately 130 employees at the company’s places of business in Sweden (Orrefors, Kosta and Åfors).

• Saint-Gobain’s Verallia is investing $70 million in Argentina, the investment is intended for producing bottles for wines and sparklings. The company will expand its production capacity by 50 percent thanks to a considerable incorporation of technology. This is the largest investment in a new industrial plant made in Argentina in 2012. Apart from the expansion, the incorporation of a new furnace entails the creation of 70 new jobs.

• The Israeli cabinet approved a natural gas hookup for the Tziporit industrial zone in Upper Nazareth, where the troubled Phoenicia Israel–America Flat Glass Ltd. is located. The company says the delay in its hookup to the national gas pipeline network put it at risk of closing. The company has 400 employees. Sources report that Yaakov Luxembourg is now considering the acquisition of Phoenicia Israel-America Flat Glass Ltd. The troubled company has been operating under a stay of proceedings since August. As part of the plan to sell Phoenicia Flat Glass, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor has approved NIS 23 million (approximately $6 million) in financial aid for the company and more help is being considered.

• British industrial materials supplier Cookson Group warned that weak trading in its Engineered Ceramics Division that makes products for the global steel industry would cause it to miss its profit forecasts for the year. Cookson, which receives about half of its revenue from supplying ceramic products to the steel and foundry markets, says trading conditions worsened during the summer, particularly in steel markets, where it sells consumable products.


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