* Libbey Glass, a glassware manufacturer, has announced that for the quarter-ended Dec. 31, 2011, sales were $214.8 million, compared to $222.8 million the previous year.

• Consol Glass has opened its new bottle manufacturing factory in Nigel, South Africa, the first phase of a planned development on a greenfield site of 50 hectares. Further expansion involves the addition of four more furnaces at the site, with a total capacity of 600,000 ton per year.

Beatson Clark has announced that it is investing £10m in furnace improvements and new high-tech equipment at its plant in Rotherham, UK. The company made a repair to the amber furnace in December 2011 and is planning a complete rebuild of its white flint furnace in July 2012.

• Pilkington Glass employees at the Ottawa plant have been informed of a workforce reduction of 60 people, with effect from June 2, 2012. According to reports, the decision has been taken in light of the continuing difficult market environment and resulting drop in product volumes in North America.

Owens-Illinois Inc. announced that first quarter 2012 results, based on preliminary indications, should exceed prior year first quarter 2011 earnings from continuing operations of $0.50 per share (diluted) by more than 35 percent. The higher first quarter 2012 results were primarily driven by good manufacturing performance as the company´s facilities operated at greater than planned production rates.

• Corning Inc. is proposing a $50 million expansion of its fiber optics glass-production plant in Cabarrus County’s Midland community, with the project expected to add 70 jobs to the operation.

• Glass packaging production volumes in Europe grew by 4.7 percent in the first half 2011 according to data published in December 2011 by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).

• Mineral sands miner Iluka Resources Ltd. has reported (pdf) a decrease in zircon, rutile and synthetic rutile production during the three months to March, as it responded to softening market demand.

RHI AG has invested around €7 million in the expansion of production capacities at the Group’s Didier plant in Niederdollendorf. The new shuttle kiln, including the required infrastructure has just been commissioned for operation. This investment enlarges the firing volume capacity by 18 percent; this means that in the coming years, RHI will be able to produce an additional 5,500 tons per year of refractories for the glass industry as well as for the environmental, energy and chemical industries.