According to Bunch, sales for the entire company were flat versus the third quarter 2011 as the impact of negative currency translation offset local currency sales growth of 4 percent.
“We continued our aggressive focus on cost reduction, and the resulting improved cost performance supported our earnings growth,” Bunch said. “Improvements in manufacturing costs were coupled with savings from our restructuring actions, which remain on schedule to deliver partial-year 2012 savings of $40 million to $50 million. Also, we continue to combat cost inflation, but the raw material inflation rate has moderated in comparison with previous quarters.
“Looking to the fourth quarter, we are heading into a seasonally slower period in most end-use markets and expect little change in the inconsistent performance of economies outside North America,” Bunch said. “We also anticipate measured economic growth in North America and expect to benefit further from some of the highest growth sectors this year, such as automotive OEM and aerospace. Given the economic backdrop, we are pleased to have delivered higher earnings in each region in the third quarter and year to date. We will remain focused on aggressive management within the regions to maximize our financial performance, and we expect to benefit further from the continued implementation of restructuring actions.
“In addition, we have considerable financial flexibility, and we continue to pursue acquisitions in a disciplined manner as a primary means of deploying our strong cash position for earnings accretion. Finally, we remain on schedule to complete the separation of our commodity chemicals business and the merger of that business with Georgia Gulf, with closing expected to occur by early next year,” Bunch concluded.The company reported today that cash and short-term investments totaled approximately $2 billion at the end of the third quarter 2012. Year-to-date cash from operations was slightly more than $1 billion, up more than 33 percent versus the prior year.