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PPG Industries (PPG)

Q4 2010 Earnings Call

January 20, 2011 2:00 pm ET


Vincent Morales - Vice President of Investor Relations

Robert Dellinger - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance

Charles Bunch - Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Member of Operating Committee

David Navikas - Vice President, Controller and Member of Operating Committee


Douglas Chudy - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc.

David Begleiter - Deutsche Bank AG

Donald Carson - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP

Wesley Brooks - Morgan Stanley

John McNulty - Crédit Suisse AG

Daniel Jester - Citigroup Inc

Robert Koort - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2010 PPG Industries Earnings Conference Call. My name is Tuwanda and I will be your coordinator for today. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the presentation over to Mr. Vince Morales, Vice President, Investor Relations. Please proceed, sir.

Vincent Morales

Thank you, Tuwanda. Good afternoon. This is Vince Morales, Vice President of Investor Relations for PPG Industries. Welcome to PPG's Fourth Quarter 2010 Financial Teleconference.

Joining me on the call today from PPG is Chuck Bunch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer; Bob Dellinger, Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer; and Dave Navikas, Vice President and Controller.

Our comments relate to the financial information released on Thursday, January 20, 2011. As a reminder to everyone, and as we communicated last quarter, we have modified our quarterly earnings call process. Approximately one hour ago, we posted detailed commentary in the company presentation slides on our Investor Center at Slides are also available on the webcast site for this call. We will not read those prepared remarks during this call.

During the call, Chuck will share his perspective on the company's results for the fourth quarter and full year and then we will move directly to Q&A. The modified process will allow substantially more time for Q&A.

Both the prepared commentary and discussion during this call may contain forward-looking statements reflecting the company's current view about future events and their potential effect on PPG's operating and financial performance. These statements involve uncertainties and risks which may cause actual results to differ from such forward-looking statements. The company is under no obligation to provide subsequent updates to these forward-looking statements. This presentation also contains certain non-GAAP financial measures the company has provided in the appendix of the presentation materials, which are also available under our website, reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly-comparable GAAP financial measures. For additional information, please refer to PPG's filings with the SEC.

Lastly before we begin, I will remind you that we held a detailed Capital Markets Analyst Day in mid-December 2010. The presentation slides for that event contain further details about our industry, businesses and then news [ph] markets. And those slides again, are available on our website.

Now let me introduce PPG's Chairman CEO, Chuck Bunch.

Charles Bunch

Thank you, Vince, and welcome, everyone. PPG posted record sales and earnings per share this quarter, capping off an excellent 2010 full-year performance. We achieved record fourth quarter sales on strong price and volume gains. And despite continued currency headwinds, our sales in local currencies grew by 10% year-over-year. Our broadening businesses in emerging regions once again delivered double-digit sales growth including in Asia, where our sales this quarter grew by more than 15%.

Also, for the full year, I am very pleased to report that our Asia-Pacific region surpassed $2 billion in sales, up nearly 25% with strong earnings growth approaching 50%. We leveraged the higher sales, delivering record fourth quarter earnings per share. The global economic recovery began to gain traction during the fourth quarter of 2009, making this quarter's year-over-year comparison more relevant. So our 50% year-over-year earnings per share increase is meaningful.

In addition to the volume gains, another factor in the fourth quarter was higher selling prices. In the quarter, every one of our segments delivered higher pricing versus last year. In looking at the year in total, the company's pricing has increased in each quarter during the year.

In our Coatings businesses, these higher prices offset or minimized margin compression from inflating raw material cost. Coatings' raw material inflation began to escalate in the middle of 2010 and remained at persistently high levels through the fourth quarter.

In our Commodity Chemicals and Glass segments, pricing gains were a contributor to the segment earnings recovery trends and were driven by higher demand as the end-use markets continued to recover.

Also, despite the ongoing recovery, we have continued aggressive management of our operations and overall cost structure. In 2010, our operating segments reduced cost by $100 million from our prior restructuring actions, plus an additional $50 million plus from other manufacturing and cost management initiatives. This $150 million of savings is in addition to the $350 million we delivered in 2009, resulting in over $500 million of lower cost in comparison with 2008.

Looking at our performance on a segment basis, we posted record fourth quarter segment earnings, easily eclipsing our prior record by more than 15%. Our combined Coatings and Optical and Specialty Materials segments also delivered both record sales and earnings in the quarter. Our broad geographic Coatings footprint enabled us to take advantage of continuing improvements in overall global industrial activity and continued expansion in aftermarket activity levels.

In Optical and Specialty Materials, we once again drove excellent topline growth and maintained our trend this year of expanding year-over-year margins. In what is typically a seasonally slow period, weak construction and maintenance markets continued to weigh on our Architectural Coatings business in Europe, although our Architectural Coatings volumes in our U.S. and Canada business were essentially flat with the prior year. Our performance Coatings and Optical and Specialty Materials segments, both top margin performers for PPG, also delivered fourth quarter earnings records and have continued future growth prospects. Architectural Coatings' EMEA earnings declined due to weakness in market demand. Also, our Industrial Coatings segment results were lower as price, volumes and costs improved, but not sufficiently enough to fully offset inflation.

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