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August 6th, 2012

News from the glass and refractory worlds

Published on August 6th, 2012 | By: P. Carlo Ratto

Sorry for this wave of sad news!:

Corning Inc.’s Q2 2012 profit fell by 39 percent as a result of the fragile economy in Europe and China. The company blamed weak consumer demand for its television screen glass for the fall in profit. Net income fell to $462 million from $755 million, a year earlier, the Corning, New York-based company said.

• Owens-Illinois could again be forced to shrink its Australia operations, leading to potential job losses. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the US manufacturing giant cites a sluggish local beer and wine market and protracted major customer and union contracts for the uncertainty hanging over its business.

• Saint-Gobain is to step up its cost cutting program in a bid to address the deteriorating economic climate, with its Flat Glass division a target. Flat Glass sales fell 6.5 percent on a like for like basis during H1 due to a contraction in automotive production in Western Europe, the collapse of the solar market, a fall in prices (especially float glass) and a rise in raw material and energy costs. As a result, the operating margin for the division narrowed to 2.1 percent of sales from 9.5 percent in first-half 2011. The company said it will step up the cost saving programme, which started in Q2, in H2 after saving €170 million in Western Europe and Asia in H1. For the year as a whole it expects to save €500 million. So far it has stopped four floats in Europe (in Portugal, Belgium, France and Germany) and three floats in Asia (one in China and two in South Korea) as well as a patterned glass line in China. In total, float-line capacity has been reduced by 19 percent in Europe and by 21 percent outside of Europe. The measures for the rest of the year will be primarily focused on Europe. It will also put any acquisition projects on hold for the rest of the year.

• More jobs will go at glassmaker Pilkington as the global economic crisis takes its toll on sales. Parent company Nippon Sheet Glass saw quarterly sales fall 3 percent to £1.08 billion and said market conditions were “significantly worse than previously anticipated.” NSG said 90 managers and staff had left in March and April this year, and another 90 would leave by next March from sites in St Helens and Lathom, Ormskirk, UK. Overall, the group wants to shed 3,500 jobs worldwide by March 2014.

• Earnings at Xinyi Glass Holdings came crashing down in the first half as the company posted a 43.4 percent drop in net profit. The firm yesterday blamed economic uncertainty for falling retail prices of float glass and solar glass—its two primary products—both in China and abroad.


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