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PPG sees record sales in fourth quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pittsburgh-based paint and chemicals giant PPG saw fourth-quarter net income of $200 million, up 27.4 percent from $157 million in the same period last year. Net income was hit by an aftertax charge of $3 million, for a recent asbestos settlement proposal.

Spurred by recent high-profile acquisitions, PPG saw record sales in the fourth quarter of $2.9 billion, up 15 percent compared with $2.5 billion in the same period last year.

For the year, the conglomerate saw net income of $834 million, up 17.3 percent from $711 million in 2006. Total sales for the year were $11.2 billion, up 13.1 percent from $9.9 billion last year.

“Our strong fourth-quarter results capped one of the best annual financial performances in the company’s history,” said Charles E. Bunch, chairman and CEO of PPG. Bunch attributed the gains to recent acquisitions and expansion in emerging regions worldwide.

Most recently, PPG said it would acquire SigmaKalon Group, a Netherlands-based producer of architectural, decorative and protective coatings, as well as coatings for the marine and industrial markets. The approximately $3.22 billion deal was approved in mid-December by European Union regulators.

“Overall, 2007 was a milestone year in our transformation to focus on coatings and specialty products,” Bunch said.

In its coatings segment, PPG’s brand names include Pittsburgh Paints, Olympic, Monarch, Porter Paints and Manor Hill.

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Wal-Mart plans new crop of energy-efficient stores

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores announced it will be opening the first of four second generation, high efficiency stores in Romeoville, Ill., on Jan. 23. The stores will use 25 percent less energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using 90 percent less refrigerant, the company said.

The new stores will incorporate what the company has learned from its first generation of high efficiency stores (HE.1) combined with new technologies, including white roofs, low-flow bathroom faucets, LED lights and an advanced daylight harvesting system, the company said.

“We’ve learned a lot since we opened our first HE.1 store one year ago, and we are excited to put what we have learned into practice with the HE.2,” said Charles Zimmerman, vp-prototype and new format development at Wal-Mart. “The secondary loop system is ideal because it not only makes the store more efficient, but also allows us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart’s executive vp-corporate affairs and government relations, made the announcement at the National Retail Federation’s 97th Annual Convention & Expo in New York City.

“These stores are another solid step toward achieving our environmental commitments,” said Dach. “We will continue to find new ways to build stores that have a reduced impact on the environment and ultimately reach a day when every new store is 25 to 30 percent more energy efficient than it was in 2005.”

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Home builder group voices goal of ‘50 percent energy reduction’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A Northern California home builders’ group has begun lobbying for a new goal of reducing energy consumption of homes 50 percent by 2020. The Home Builders Association of Northern California represents around 100 builders, including KB Home, Pulte and Centex.

Member builders will be required to achieve the reduction compared with 1990 energy consumption levels within 14 years, said association president Joseph Perkins. Additionally, members will be asked to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent within the same time frame.

The builders group also announced its support for the adoption of green building standards created by the Berkeley, Calif.-based nonprofit group Build It Green. So far, 15 of the 101 cities and counties in the nine-county region have made Build It Green standards mandatory, according to the East Bay Business Times.

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