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August 22, 2009

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PPG's plans in China remain on track

UNITED States paint maker PPG Industries expects the outlook for global demand to be better in the second half of the year and said the worldwide recession wouldn't affect its strategy to grow and invest in China.

"We are optimistic moving forward right now. Maybe the worst of the global recession is over," the firm's Senior Vice President Rich Alexander said in an interview yesterday.

The company last month said higher profit margins helped it to post better-than-expected earnings -- a result of cost-cutting efforts.

Alexander said even though industrial and automotive customers have reduced output and held off restocking inventories, "we see business pick up a little bit in the United States and in fact in Europe, while China has been reasonably strong for us all year long," he said.

He said China's stimulus package appeared to have helped its business, especially in protective coatings which are used in infrastructure projects, architecture paints and automobiles.

He pointed out that PPG's overall strategy to expand in China won't be affected by the recession but that the firm would consider carefully the timing of its expansion. It would also continue to look for acquisition opportunities in China and Brazil.

China accounted for 35 percent of PPG's sales in the Asia Pacific last year against 25 percent in 2007, the firm said. Asia's proportion in its global sales rose to 17 percent from 15 percent in 2008.


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