PPG to Realign Glass Operations, Close One Facility
PPG industries will realign its performance glazing business, ceasing production at one facility and shutting down one other float glass line while investing $100 million in its remaining glass-making facilities in a move that the company attributes to the ongoing decline in demand for automotive and residential window glass.
The Pittsburgh-based company will allow shipping and distribution of products at its Owen Sound, Ontario manufacturing facility until inventory is depleted and idle one float glass line at its Mt. Zion, Ill. glass plant in the second quarter of 2009. Those moves will coincide with the reopening of rebuilt, higher-throughput lines at glass plants in Carlisle, Pa. and Wichita Falls, Texas.
The company reports that the closure decisions were impacted by PPG’s July 8 announcement of the pending sale of its automotive glass and service businesses to an affiliate of funds managed by private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. LLC.
“This realignment will enable us to adapt to the changing demands of the industry,” says Mark Orcutt, vice president for performance glazings with PPG. “The changes are part of PPG’s transformation of its performance glazing business and will help to improve our focus on profitable market segments and value-added products.”
Orcutt specifically cites specialized glass for the emerging solar market and energy-efficient glass to satisfy evolving building codes fueled by the green building movement as major drivers of the commercial construction market.
“PPG invests very heavily in the development of new products and technologies,” Orcutt says. “So it’s important that we leverage this in markets that value and reward scientific advance.”
The $100 million capital investment program includes both equipment and process upgrades to improve productivity at its remaining facilities, and is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2009.