Our comments relate to the financial information we released today, October 20, 2011. As a reminder to everyone, based on our modified quarterly earnings call process, approximately 1 hour ago, we posted detailed commentary and accompanying presentation slides on our Investor Center at our website at ppg.com. These slides are also available on the webcast site for this call. We do not read these prepared remarks during the call, however, Chuck will share his perspective during the call and the company's results for the quarter and then we will move directly to Q&A.Both the prepared commentary and discussion during this call may contain forward-looking statements reflecting the company's 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. 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 available on 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, and before we discuss the third quarter results, I will remind everyone that PPG's Capital Markets Day will be December 5 in New York City. We will provide a strategic and financial update for our businesses and also discuss our coatings technologies. Please contact PPG's Investor Relations for additional details. And now let me introduce PPG's Chairman and CEO, Chuck Bunch. Charles E. Bunch Thank you, Vince, and welcome, everyone. Today we announced third quarter sales of $3.8 billion, up 11% versus the third quarter of 2010. Our third quarter earnings per share of $1.96 were a record for any quarter in the company's history and up 24% versus the prior year. This represents 5 consecutive quarters in which we have eclipsed our prior quarterly earnings record, including last quarter where our earnings were also up more than 20%.
This consistent improvement in performance, especially in light of today's economic backdrop, demonstrates our management's aggressive focus on operations and the continuing benefit of structural changes that we have made to the company the past few years, including a lower cost base and expansion in emerging regions.In addition, these results reflect the continuing benefits of our disciplined deployment of our strong cash position. Our third quarter sales improved by about $400 million versus the prior year. Year-over-year volumes for the company were flat for the quarter, with differing results by region and end-use market. Demand in North America was up about 1% versus last year, consistent with our second quarter volume change. However, these results included a large negative volume impact from several unplanned production outages in our Commodity Chemical business early in the quarter, which reduced the North American percentage volume change for the company by a few hundred basis points. Emerging region volume growth continued, driven by higher industrial and automotive OEM activity levels. These results were tempered by expected declines in shipbuilding activity as the lower production reflects a smaller marine original equipment order backlog. Most other emerging region and market growth remained consistent with the prior quarter. The higher emerging region results offset declines in European volumes, principally due to lower activity levels in several consumer-oriented businesses, including Optical products and Architectural Coatings. Aiding our sales and record earnings performance was higher pricing in all 13 of our businesses, led by our Commodity Chemical business. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter where the company has delivered higher pricing, reflecting our efforts to recover inflation we have already absorbed and counter flattening raw material inflation rates. Earnings were also assisted by the benefit from higher global industry activity, including improving global auto production, along with continued strong performance in some of our top performing businesses such as Aerospace and Automotive Refinish as we continue to benefit from our leading technologies. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com