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Sales up for PPG in fourth quarter

PITTSBURGH (AP) — PPG Industries’ earnings were up about 13 percent in the fourth quarter due to strong sales and reduced overhead costs, the company said Thursday.
The glass, paint and chemicals company reported a net income of $94 million, or 55 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a net income of $83 million, or 49 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2001. Excluding a $4 million after-tax charge related to an asbestos settlement, company earnings were $98 million, or 57 cents per share.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting a profit of 57 cents per share in the fourth quarter excluding settlement costs.
Sales were up 4.4 percent to $1.99 billion. Streamlining by PPG also played a part in boosting profits.
“They did a great job in reducing overhead costs,” said Saul H. Ludwig with McDonald Investments Inc. “They said they took out about $140 million in costs, which has allowed them to operate well in a soft economic market.”
For all of 2002, PPG recorded a net loss of $69 million, or 41 cents per share. The loss counts one-time charges including $484 million, or $2.85 per share, for an asbestos settlement and $52 million, or 31 cents per share, in costs related to restructuring.
Glass sales were up slightly and chemical sales rose 13 percent, largely due to higher prices on commodity products, the company reported.