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Edited Transcript of PPG earnings conference call or presentation 20-Apr-17 6:00pm GMT

Thomson Reuters StreetEvents

Q1 2017 PPG Industries Inc Earnings Call

PITTSBURGH Apr 22, 2017 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of PPG Industries Inc earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 6:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Michael H. McGarry

PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO

* Scott Minder

PPG Industries, Inc. - Director of IR

* Vincent J. Morales

PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP

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Conference Call Participants

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* Arun S. Viswanathan

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

* Christopher S. Parkinson

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director of Equity Research

* David L. Begleiter

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - MD and Senior Research Analyst

* Dmitry Silversteyn

Longbow Research LLC - Senior Research Analyst

* Donald Carson

Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Frank J. Mitsch

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Chemicals Analyst

* James Michael Sheehan

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst

* Jeffrey J. Zekauskas

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* John Ezekiel E. Roberts

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director and Equity Research Analyst, Chemicals

* Kevin William McCarthy

Vertical Research Partners, LLC - Partner

* Laurence Alexander

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - VP and Equity Research Analyst

* Matthew James Gingrich

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate

* Mehul M. Dalia

Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Associate

* Michael J. Sison

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD and Equity Research Analyst

* Michael James Leithead

Barclays PLC, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Michael Joseph Harrison

Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Chemicals Analyst

* P.J. Juvekar

Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Global Head of Chemicals and Agriculture and MD

* Robert Andrew Koort

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - MD

* Steve Byrne

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director of Equity Research

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good afternoon, and welcome to the PPG Industries First Quarter 2017 Earnings Conference Call. My name is Denise, and I will be your conference specialist today. (Operator Instructions) Please note, this event is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Scott Minder, Director of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

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Scott Minder, PPG Industries, Inc. - Director of IR [2]

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Good afternoon. This is Scott Minder, Director of Investor Relations. We appreciate your interest in PPG and welcome you to our first quarter 2017 financial results teleconference.

Joining me on the call from PPG are Michael McGarry, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Vince Morales, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Our comments relate to the financial information released on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

I will remind everyone that we have posted detailed commentary and accompanying presentation slides on the Investors center of our websites, ppg.com. The slides are also available on the webcast site for this call and provide additional support to the opening comments Michael will make momentarily. Following Michael's perspective on the company's quarterly results, we will move to a Q&A session. In this session, we request that you focus your question on PPG's first quarter results. We do not intend to provide any additional or new information regarding our proposals to combine with AkzoNobel at this time other than what Michael will say in his opening comments.

Both the prepared commentary and the discussion during this call may contain forward-looking statements, reflecting the company's current view of 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 update 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.

Now let me introduce PPG's Chairman and CEO, Michael McGarry.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [3]

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Thank you, Scott, and welcome. First and foremost, I still submit, it is impossible to know what is best for your stakeholders until you fully evaluate all the options. We believe AkzoNobel's new, strategic plan will be more risky and create more uncertainty for Akzo's stakeholders, including employees and pensioners. The facts are that Akzo's newly revised strategy would create 2 smaller, unproven companies and a detailed additional restructuring. The contemplated restructuring overall, and, specifically, the restructuring actions associated with the headquarter-related stranded costs are very surprisingly inconsistent with Akzo's previously stated comments of safeguarding job security, especially in the Netherlands. Separately, Akzo is also critical of PPG's proposal, given the combination the companies would involve an antitrust review process. However, included under Akzo's dual track process is a clear option they articulate to sell the specialty chemical business, which would be subject to a detailed antitrust regulatory process, including associated regulatory review timing. In addition, decreases in free cash flow from demerged companies is often underestimating, putting future and accelerated growth plans at risk.

Next, Akzo management was recently critical and raised credit ratings as a concern with the PPG proposal. However, Akzo detailed yesterday they are anticipating a resulting downgrade in credit ratings with their standalone strategy. In conjunction, a downgraded credit rating may also have ramifications on pension funding requirements, and we noted a great deal of discussion yesterday by Akzo about potential impacts of their standalone strategy on pensions and funding obligations.

We found it interesting that the revised EUR 100 million 2017 EBIT target comes so soon after Akzo's 2017 target setting meeting on February 15, and also that nearly half of the EUR 100 million figure occurred in the first quarter, which is typically a seasonally slower quarter. It is confusing, as Akzo expressed concern over R&D spending in their response to the PPG proposal. Akzo stated they want to invest EUR 1 billion in coatings R&D through 2020. However, this cumulative EUR 1 billion sounds lower than their annual R&D spending in 2016 of EUR 363 million. Are they still willing to commit to their overall combined R&D spending from last year? And more generally, we believe equity markets react swiftly and typically appropriately to any additional news, and the market reaction is reflected in the stock prices.

And lastly, at PPG, we continue to be believe past performance is the best predictor of future performance. As Scott mentioned earlier, we do not intend to provide any additional information regarding our proposal to acquire AkzoNobel in the question-and-answer portion of this call.

Turning our attention to PPG. Today, we reported record first quarter 2017 financial results. We achieved net sales of $3.6 billion and adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $1.35. We delivered solid financial results to start 2017, including a more than 6% year-over-year increase in adjusted earnings per diluted share and a 3% improvement in local currency sales or an increase of 1% as reported. Our sales growth was driven in large part by higher aggregate coatings volumes of 2%, which is our strongest performance since the fourth quarter 2016 and the modest benefit from recent portfolio optimization actions, where acquisition-related sales exceeded the absence of sales from divested businesses. We achieved these improved results despite the ongoing unfavorable impact from currency translation and moderate but uneven global demand. Our EPS growth rate improved versus the prior 2 quarters, primarily due to the benefits of ongoing cash deployment, including share repurchases of $165 million in the first quarter. For the quarter, our average diluted shares outstanding declined by nearly 4% versus the prior year, earnings leverage on our sales growth and continued operational cost discipline, resulted in lower manufacturing and overhead cost, including the initial benefits from our 2016 business restructuring program.

Several factors served as offsets to these earnings improvements: including increased raw material costs, which we partially offset with our initial pricing actions across several business regions and businesses; unfavorable foreign currency translation of approximately $15 million; and higher transitory global transportation and logistics costs to meet elevated customer demand in Asia. To address our regional production capacity issue, we are nearing completion of expansion one of our facilities in China. This expansion is expected to be fully operational late in the second quarter, and will serve to greatly reduce ultimately -- and ultimately eliminate these additional costs beginning in the third quarter.

In addition to our operational improvement efforts, we actively worked to strengthen our balance sheet, increasing our cash and short-term investments by more than $350 million, and ending the quarter with approximately $1.4 billion on hand. This enhanced cash position provides us with increased financial flexibility to fund acquisitions of all sizes. In support of our cash balance improvements, we continued our working capital discipline, achieving a 100 basis point year-over-year improvement in operating working capital as a percentage of sales. Additionally, our focus on delivering shareholder value is highlighted again in the first quarter with the acquisition of Futian Xinshi, a China-based automotive refinish coatings company and the previously mentioned share repurchases. Despite these improved quarterly results, we aspire to a higher EPS growth rate and remain committed to further improving our financial results and deploying our strong balance sheet.

Now I'd like to discuss some of our first quarter business trends. Our aggregate coatings sales volume growth was led by a continued strong performance in our technology-focused Industrial Coatings segment, where each business unit grew by mid-single-digit percentage versus the prior year and easily exceeding their respective industry growth comparisons.

Sales volumes in automotive OEM coatings have once again began to outpace global industry growth rates, led by above market increases in the growing regions of Europe, Asia, Latin America, partially offset by below-market experience in the U.S. and Canada, where overall industry production volumes declined.

General industrial coatings sales volumes increased ahead of industrial production growth rates for the fifth consecutive quarter. Improvements were broad-based across sub-segments and regions, particularly in Asia Pacific. Additionally, our sales volume growth rate improved sequentially in the U.S. and Canada. Sales volumes increased in packaging coatings, building on strong growth in the prior year, as customers continue their adoption of PPG's interior can coating products. We continue to see technology-based growth opportunities for this business.

Looking ahead, global automotive industry growth is expected to continue in the second quarter and for the full year, with clear differences by region. We believe that industry sales have plateaued in the U.S. and Canada, with lower year-over-year industry production in the second quarter and for the full year, with the continuing shift in industry production between the U.S. and Mexico. We anticipate continued full year industry production growth in Europe despite a decline in the second quarter. In Asia, we expect industry production to continue to expand in the region for both the second quarter and full year, building on the region's robust 2016 growth rates. In China, we are closely monitoring expanding dealer inventories and the potential for slowing industry production as a result. Finally, we see a gradual recovery of the automotive industry production levels in Brazil after likely bottoming in that country.

We anticipate a continuation of current industry demand trends in industrial and packaging coatings, with PPG outperformance expected to continue in the second quarter, primarily due to strong customer adoption of our new coatings technologies and value-added services.

Turning to Performance Coatings. Year-over-year sales volumes were in line with prior year, including modest, positive year-over-year impact from the Easter holiday shift between quarters in some of our businesses and regions. The shift in the holiday between the first and second quarter primarily impacted our B2C businesses, while it typically doesn't impact our B2B businesses. Based on this year's calendar, the holiday-related shift aided volumes in some of our B2C businesses, while negatively impacting other businesses. We anticipate the net improvement of this timing shift to be about 1% of incremental volume in the first quarter in Performance Coatings segment and negligible impact on our other reporting segments.

Reporting -- looking at particular business unit performance. In aggregate, ongoing and significant demand weakness in marine coatings offset growth in other business units. Automotive refinish coatings organic sales growth continued with improved customer demand in each region, led by above-market gains in U.S. and Canada, where we experienced record March sales results.

Aerospace volumes were consistent with the prior year, as low industry build growth rates continued, despite significant customer backlogs. Additionally, we were negatively impacted by our customers' inventory management actions, primarily in the transparency subsegment, which offset the modest demand increases.

In architectural coatings, U.S. and Canada, we achieved a solid mid-single-digit sales volume increase in our company-owned stores, which marked our best performance to date since the store revitalization efforts, post the AkzoNobel North American decorative coatings acquisitions. This growth was more than offset by lower demand in the independent dealer network, and mixed volume results within our national retailer accounts or DIY channel, including the comparisons to prior year new product inventory pipeline fills at multiple customers.

Sales volumes improved in Latin America, Asia Pacific and architectural coatings Europe, Middle East and Africa, where we saw improvements in several Western European countries, including U.K., Ireland, Benelux countries and building on growth in the prior year. Sales volumes continued to decline in protective and marine coatings due to ongoing significant weakness in Marine shipbuilding activity, focused on Asia Pacific. These declines more than offset our broad-based regional growth in protective coatings.

Looking ahead, we anticipate higher segment sales sequentially in the second quarter, as we truly kick off the heart of the architectural paint season in many parts of the world. We expect a continuation of current industry trends in aerospace and automotive refinish coatings and modest growth to remain in architectural EMEA, with continued expansion in Western Europe and a slight improvement in Eastern Europe demand levels, particularly in Poland.

We anticipate significant ongoing weakness in the marine subsegment to offset growth in protective coatings, but are encouraged by the recent ship order activity in Korea. Although this is a favorable, longer-term industry sign, a related increase in coatings demand will be delayed, as vessels are typically painted 12 to 18 months after orders are received.

Underlying demand trends in architectural U.S. and Canada are expected to remain as we enter the peak portion of the annual paint season. We expect solid, same-store sales growth to continue, building on our first quarter 2017 and second half 2016 momentum and lower demand levels to persist within the independent dealer network. In our national retail outlets, or DIY channel, we are optimistic about the sales prospects for our new products launch in 2016 and for our newest premium product, PPG Timeless Stain, currently launching at the Home Depot. This is the first product to prominently carry the PPG name at a major U.S. home center, and is a continuation of our efforts to increase customer awareness of our corporate brand name.

In our PPG-Comex business, we anticipate a continuation of local currency sales growth of at least 2x Mexican GDP levels. In our Glass segment, volumes declined by 2%, primarily due to lower North American fiberglass customer demand in the wind energy subsegment, partially offset by an improvement in oil and gas-related end use market demand. We expect these trends to continue in the second quarter.

Looking at a demand from a regional perspective. Sales volumes continue to expand in emerging regions of Asia Pacific and Latin America, exceeding growth rates in the developed regions. Demand growth in Asia was led by PPG outperformance in the Industrial Coatings segment and tempered by significant declines in the Marine shipbuilding activity. Volumes expanded in Latin America across most of our businesses, led by significant increases of automotive industry production in Mexico. Volume growth accelerated modestly in Europe, and was broad-based across the majority of our coatings business units, reflecting the moderate economic recovery in the region.

Sales volumes are flat in the U.S. and Canada, indicative of the uneven end-use market demand environment, which included declines in automotive industry production, which were offset by demand improvements in other end-use market segments. We have included additional segment and regional details in our presentation materials.

Overall, we delivered solid business results in the first quarter despite uneven global market demand and ongoing foreign currency headwinds. We continue to focus on improving our organic growth rate by delivering innovative, new products that satisfy our customers' needs and by further developing our consumer brands around the world. As is the hallmark of PPG, we remain disciplined in our operations and diligent over our costs, and are on pace to achieve $40 million to $50 million in 2017 savings from our current restructuring program.

We implemented price increases in the first quarter, and announced additional price actions, effective in the second quarter, to address our increasing raw material costs. We will continue to look for ways to beneficially deploy our cash to enhance shareholder value, and remain committed to deploy at least $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion on acquisition and share repurchases in 2017 and '18 combined. We currently have active pipeline of bolt-on acquisitions and remain willing to engage with AkzoNobel to discuss the combination of our companies.

This concludes our prepared remarks. Once again, thank you for your interest in PPG. And now, Denise, would you please open the line for questions?

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Operator [4]

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(Operator Instructions) The first question will come from Robert Koort of Goldman Sachs.

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Robert Andrew Koort, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - MD [5]

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Michael, I was wondering if you could talk about something you touched on at the end there about the efforts to invigorate the organic growth. Obviously, you had a little pickup in the first quarter. Can you talk to maybe about through-the-quarter trends?

And then what do you attribute the commentary about their feeling to be a better economic tone in the U.S. but not really showing up in any business activity yet?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [6]

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The -- as you know, Bob, the -- all the surveys on economic optimism have continued to go up since the election. We have not seen the order book reflect anywhere near the spike that the optimism shows. We do see solid demand though, just not increasing at that rate. We saw March was a good month, and that's always encouraging for March to be a good month as that's usually the start of the paint season. And I would tell you that, overall, our organic growth efforts are taking hold. As you know, we started on this about 2 years ago. And our industrial businesses, that's automotive, industrial and packaging, all really understand this and doing a really, really fine job. The refinish is also doing a good job. I think being held back a little bit in aerospace, not because we don't know how to do it, but because a couple of our customers are -- haven't figured out how to build planes even though they have a huge backlog. So I would say the most encouraging one, though, was our same-store sales in our architecture business in the U.S. and Canada. They performed very well. And the fact that we revitalized the store network, those dividends are starting to play out. So overall, we know how to do it. The teams are getting better at it, and I think it's starting to take hold. It's being masked, though, by the significant weakness in the marine segment, which is taking a fair amount off the top line. But on the protective side, all good. So thanks.

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Robert Andrew Koort, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - MD [7]

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And you mentioned that the stores can sustain that good growth after the investment effort. Is there something wrong with the DIY channel? Because it seems like that market's not as robust. Or is there just something seasonal or temporary going on there? And I appreciate your time.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [8]

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Well, Bob, I guess, the way I would describe that is there is more money in the pockets of the consumers, and there does seem to be more of a trend to do-it-for-me, if you will, as opposed to do-it-yourself. And we have talked to our customers about the need to get more aggressive in the, what I would call, the good category, that people have come in the stores, wanting to buy the good level paint and sometimes walk out when they're trying too hard to upsell them. So we think that this is an opportunity for them to refocus on some of the people that haven't bought paint in that category. So for us, the -- we think the continuation of same-store sales look good. Our April start is solid as well. So that's why we've put in the commentary that we're looking forward to a good second quarter.

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Operator [9]

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The next question will be from Duffy Fischer of Barclays.

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Michael James Leithead, Barclays PLC, Research Division - Research Analyst [10]

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It's actually Mike Leithead, on for Duffy this afternoon. I guess, first, can you just walk through the changes you're seeing in your raw material basket? I know TiO2 catches most of the headlines, but we've also seen some inflation on the organic side. So just trying to get a sense of where we are today versus maybe your expectations heading into this year.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [11]

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Sure. So clearly, TiO2 has upward pressure more that there's a combination of supply/demand, but more because of some of the outages that they have in Europe. I would also say propylene is up significantly more. This tends to be a first quarter, second quarter event every year. We certainly hope the propylene by dehydrogenation trend to help that. But this year, that hasn't been the case. So propylene is up. Certainly, emulsions are up. Epoxies are up in Asia. So there's a few more. And then when you look at on a year-over-year basis, this time last year, oil was in the 30s. Now we're in the low 50s. So solvents, on a year-over-year basis, is up now. Sequentially, going forward, it's not going to be up. And that's why we think the second quarter is probably the peak for raw materials, but that's our -- that's kind of the flavor we see.

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Michael James Leithead, Barclays PLC, Research Division - Research Analyst [12]

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Great. And then in Mexico, it looks like Comex growth remains pretty strong there even if FX clouds it a bit in your reported results. Can you just update us on kind of how the PPG initiatives are progressing down there, I guess, cost synergies? And I think you had a longer-term revenue target you're also looking at there. Kind of how those programs are going?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [13]

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Yes. So overall, the PPG Comex team continues to perform at an exceptionally high level. We continue to far exceed our target which is 2x GDP. The team has opened up 45 new stores in the first quarter this year. Last year, we opened up about 212, if I remember right. So we're ahead of our pace what we had anticipated in Q1. Our store relocations have also been ahead of pace. We had price increases in Mexico that have been successful as well. The revenue increases that you talked about, the synergies, our protective and marine team has done a good job down there in Mexico. We brought new industrial products that they're selling down there. That's been a benefit. And when you look at Central America, that has been a significant win. Regionally, we said $40 million to $50 million in new sales synergies in the years 3 through 5. We upped that to $60 million to $70 million. We're ahead of that pace right now. Sales actually in Central America last year were up nearly 40%. In the first quarter, they were up more than 20%. So we were on top of a huge comp number we were up again. So we feel very good about our Comex team.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [14]

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Mike, one last comment. We have captured fully the cost synergies of -- announced when we did the transaction.

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Operator [15]

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The next question will be from Steve Byrne of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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Steve Byrne, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director of Equity Research [16]

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This chart you put together that shows your outlook for -- in the first quarter, demand by market and region suggests you saw the U.S. architectural market actually contract in the first quarter slightly year-over-year. Why would that have been? What would you see as driving contraction in that market?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [17]

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Well, the growth comes from the same-store sales. The contraction comes from the independent dealer network, along with the big-box retail DIY channel. So that's it. But we are projecting 2% to 3% growth for the full year for architectural in the U.S. and Canada.

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Steve Byrne, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director of Equity Research [18]

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But was something holding back the overall market in the first quarter?

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [19]

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Steve, the color on the chart reflects -- I think you're looking at the yellow on the chart. We're reflecting our below market.

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Steve Byrne, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director of Equity Research [20]

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Yes, but isn't that also suggesting...

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [21]

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Those are our independent dealer channels Michael mentioned.

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Steve Byrne, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director of Equity Research [22]

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So you're below-market, but aren't you also saying that the overall market is -- slowed year-over-year in the quarter?

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [23]

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We think the market's growing at 2% to 3% a year. We do think the market expanded, and I don't have the slide in front of me. I apologize. We do think the market expanded in the first quarter.

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Steve Byrne, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director of Equity Research [24]

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Okay. All right. Well, then switching gears here. While you're pursuing this Akzo bid, should we assume other M&A should be either modest or tabled in the interim? And for example, were you not interested in that Valspar wood coatings business?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [25]

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Well, what I would tell you is we are not slowing down our M&A efforts. The pipeline remains actively engaged. And as far as the specific one, I will not comment on that, but what you should generally think about is that we look at most everything in our space.

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Operator [26]

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The next question will come from Christopher Parkinson of Credit Suisse.

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Christopher S. Parkinson, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director of Equity Research [27]

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You mentioned you expect to have consistent industry demand trends in the U.S. and Canadian architectural business in your 2Q outlook. But can you just parse out some additional trends based on the specific channels? I think you already said you expect the company-owned stores to continue to outperform. But more importantly, just any key puts and takes in terms of differentials and gross spend by channel? I think you had some of that in 2016.

And then also just any broad thoughts on expectations for new product lines and stains or even Glidden Diamond because, I think, you launched that kind of a little bit into the season last year.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [28]

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Chris, this is Vince. I'll try to answer all your questions. Again, our view is the market continues to remain -- U.S. architectural market continues to remain solid. It's led, as Michael mentioned, by professional, the professional channel, where we were up mid-single-digits. So I think that was our fifth or sixth quarter in a row where we expanded our growth rate in that channel, and Michael commented briefly on the investments we've made in past years leading up to our growth rate. We do expect that channel to continue to outperform. And as I just mentioned, the independent dealer channel is a modestly shrinking channel, and that trend is not expected to change. The home center channel is expected to grow slightly below the overall industry. We do have some noise in Q1 and Q2 year-over-year because we did have product launches last year in both Q1 and Q2. We mentioned -- you mentioned Glidden Diamond, which we split between Q1 and Q2 last year as a product launch. We also had our Paramount product at Menards. Again, we split that between Q1 and Q2. And we have the PPG stain Timeless launch, which is a smaller category that that's going into the Home Depot right now. But we do expect that channel, as it did last year, to slightly underperform the overall industry. So hopefully, I answered your questions fully.

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Christopher S. Parkinson, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director of Equity Research [29]

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One by one. Great. And just a quick follow-up on the industrial side. You indicated you've seen some solid trends in APAC. LatAm, it seems like the U.S. is okay in that regard, but EMEA is still sluggish. On the latter, can you just comment on any key trends you're seeing, whether it's by country or just by vertical? And whether or not you're seeing any decrementals in some of those markets in the business? And then if it improves, let's say, later on the year, even past key elections in the region, if you expect any improvement in op leverage there.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [30]

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So this is Michael. What I would tell you is that the same countries continue to have the same strength. So U.K., Ireland, continues to do well. The Benelux continues to do well. Germany continues to do well. France remains sluggish. Obviously, they have an election coming up, so there's not a lot of spending going on at that level right now. The recovery in Southern Europe continues, but I would say, has moderated. The disappointment has been more on Eastern Europe. That has probably been the bigger challenge in that regard. And of course, the Middle East, which we report as part of Europe, Middle East and Africa, that has been challenged. And then Africa, it's significantly challenged as a number of those countries are oil-based economies. And as you know, the oil-based economies have been challenged. So when you look at overall Europe, I'd say Western Europe, doing pretty well; Eastern Europe, a little bit less; and then the other ones are the ones that are holding back. And I might add, the other one positive would be Russia. Like in the first quarter, Russian car sales were up 4%. That's the last -- I can't remember the last time they were up. I think they were 50% down since their peak. So that's one positive sign.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [31]

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And in Asia, we're seeing good -- generally good, solid growth across the region. I think there was some valid concern coming into the year in China on the car incentives that was being partially repealed, but we did see good automotive sales. Again, a little bit of tick up in inventory in Q1, but we didn't see a significant decline. That tells us there is good solid underpinnings of growth there. India's good. Southeast Asia is good as well.

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Operator [32]

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The next question will be from Jeff Zekauskas of JPMorgan.

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Jeffrey J. Zekauskas, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [33]

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I saw that you bought $165 million worth of shares in the first quarter. Was that share repurchase completed before you fought hard about buying Akzo? Or were you already aware that you were intending to purchase Akzo? And have you purchased any shares this quarter?

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [34]

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So Jeff, this is Vince again. So Jeff, we did, as you know, and as we reported in January purchased roughly $650 million of stock in the fourth quarter. We did that under a program, which we occasionally do. That program ran through our first quarter earnings call. And so we won't comment on what we've done subsequent to the end of the first quarter, but that program did run through our first quarter earnings call.

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Jeffrey J. Zekauskas, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [35]

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Okay, great. And then, secondly, I think your cost of goods sold was up 2.6% and your volumes were roughly up too. So it seems that you had a very low rate of cost of goods sold inflation. Is that because you had a way of managing your inventories? Or was it that your raw material costs were up at a higher rate, but you offset that with lowering overhead costs? Can you talk about why your cost of goods sold was so low in the context of rising raw material costs?

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [36]

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Jeff, it's Vince again. Jeff, it was the latter. We did see an increase in raw material costs, as Michael touched upon earlier. We did have, in response to that, a very good cost management of our manufacturing costs. And that was supplemented by higher volumes, which allowed us to capitalize on those higher volumes and the throughput at our facilities.

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Operator [37]

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The next question will come from Ghansham Panjabi of Robert W. Baird.

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Mehul M. Dalia, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Associate [38]

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It's actually Mehul Dalia, sitting in for Ghansham. Going back to the question on inflation. Given your activity on the pricing side, do you think you'll be able to be at least price cost neutral or even positive for the full year 2017 just based on the current raw material backdrop as we see it right now?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [39]

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Well, our guidance earlier in the year was that we would be negative price minus raw materials for Q1, Q2 and positive Q3, Q4. In order to make that happen, we're going to have to work harder and collaboratively with our customers to achieve our previously announced price increases. But at this point in time, we're still positive that we're going to have a net positive. So we haven't given up on that, and we don't plan on it.

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Mehul M. Dalia, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Associate [40]

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Okay, great. And then in terms of the capital deployment of $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion for 2017 and 2018, and in the context of your pending AkzoNobel offer, how should we think about layering in the proceeds towards share buyback, et cetera, from a timeline standpoint for the remainder of the year?

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [41]

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Well, again, regardless of the year, we typically don't provide publicly any cadence or pace for share buybacks. We are -- we have conviction around the $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion over the 2-year period, but we typically wouldn't pace that out for public consumption.

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Operator [42]

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The next question will come from David Begleiter of Deutsche Bank.

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David L. Begleiter, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - MD and Senior Research Analyst [43]

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Michael, just on margins and performance coatings. They were actually up Q1 year-over-year. But given the peak of raws in Q2, should we expect margins and performance to be down year-over-year in Q2?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [44]

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I think they'll be down marginally, but obviously, we're working collaboratively with our customers on price increases. It's always difficult to forecast when you can start to get those price increases in your pocket. But we have good relationships with our customers, and we'll continue to work with them in a very straightforward manner.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [45]

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And just, David, if I could add, again, as Michael said earlier, I just want to remind everybody, we do expect Q2 to be the most difficult comparable from a raw material perspective.

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David L. Begleiter, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - MD and Senior Research Analyst [46]

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Very good. And Michael, just on marine, when does the business bottom? And can you actually size what the impact has been from peak to trough?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [47]

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Well, the bottom is probably either this quarter or next quarter is my guess. We saw a slight uptick in ship orders for the first time in a long time in Q1. So I always say that one data point doesn't make a trend, so it's too early to call that. But last quarter, the fourth quarter, Korean ship orders were off 75%, and China shipped orders were off 60%. So that's not indicative of the world market, because obviously, they do more of it than anybody else. But the downturn in some of the other countries would have been less. But it's still a very significant year, I mean, peak to trough number.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [48]

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And David, in terms of context for size for 2016, we said it shaved about half of a turn off of our growth rate, somewhere in the neighborhood of half a turn.

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Operator [49]

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The next question will come from Frank Mitsch of Wells Fargo.

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Frank J. Mitsch, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Chemicals Analyst [50]

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Michael, you were talking about the Easter impact. And I think you said that, that was a benefit of about 1% volumes in Performance Coatings. So is -- are we to expect that that's a pull-forward from Q2 into Q1? And so therefore, whatever volumes we see, so we're going to see a decrement in Q2? Is that what you're kind of signaling there?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [51]

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Yes. So what we had is extra ship days in Q1, and we have less ship days in Q2. And it's not a straightforward calculation because PPG-Comex, actually, their 2 biggest selling parts of the year, Christmas and Easter. So for PPG-Comex, it's obviously a benefit in the second quarter. It was a negative in the first quarter. So it's not a straightforward calculation. What we're probably trying to tell you is it's somewhere in that 1% to 2% range.

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Frank J. Mitsch, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Chemicals Analyst [52]

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All right. Terrific. And then you were -- you've talked before about the $100 million productivity program. And I was wondering if you could provide some color around that, where you stand there and what's the expectations for the balance of the year.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [53]

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My friend Vince will help you.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [54]

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Thanks, Michael. So Frank, we gave -- as you know, we announced the restructuring last year. We're targeting $40 million to $50 million of savings in 2017 from those restructuring actions. We captured a little less than 25%, let's call it, 20% of that in the first quarter. We expect that to gradually grow throughout the year, and will be, hopefully, at the middle to upper end of that $40 million to $50 million target.

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Frank J. Mitsch, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Chemicals Analyst [55]

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All right. And that's also partly baked into the expectation for the back half of the year to hopefully see acceleration in EPS growth relative to what you performed in Q1, correct?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [56]

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That would be correct.

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Operator [57]

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The next question will come from John Roberts of UBS.

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John Ezekiel E. Roberts, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director and Equity Research Analyst, Chemicals [58]

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And Mike, I'll remind you, this is Wall Street. So if you give us one data point, we'll draw a line, and if you give us 2, we'll draw a curve.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [59]

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Okay, John. Thanks for the education.

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John Ezekiel E. Roberts, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director and Equity Research Analyst, Chemicals [60]

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You talked about more visibility for the PPG brand. Are you talking about using the PPG brand to expand some shelf space and gain share? Or are you talking more about a super umbrella brand on top of your other brands?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [61]

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Well, I don't know that it's right for me to lay out our brand strategy as it's evolving, but let me try to get to part of what you're talking about. We are going to have more shelf space at the Home Depot, okay? So that's a positive. We are, if you're in the any of our retail partner stores, you will see the PPG logo on our products, and of course, we're growing the PPG paints brand in our own store. And as you know, as Mr. Mitch just said, it's not the paint can, but it's PPG Paints Arena. We're thrilled to be with the NHL, and now we're the NHL partner, official paint. So these are all our efforts to do that. What I would tell you is that long term, we will have to put and we will put more branding into the PPG name to support our retail customers. So this will be gradual and over time, but it is something that we are working on, and we talk continuously to our retail partners on how important this is to us.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [62]

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And these investments today, John -- I'm sorry to interrupt you, these investments today we've seen hopefully gain some traction, along with our PPG paint stores growth.

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John Ezekiel E. Roberts, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director and Equity Research Analyst, Chemicals [63]

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And do you use the PPG brand in European architecture at all yet?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [64]

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No, we do not use it anywhere. The only place outside the U.S. that we're using it as a PPG brand is actually New Zealand, and that's because of the way we bought the business in Australia and New Zealand. And actually, it's doing quite well down there. So maybe it should have been a learning to us.

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Operator [65]

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The next question will come from Kevin McCarthy of Vertical Research Partners.

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Kevin William McCarthy, Vertical Research Partners, LLC - Partner [66]

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You've had a number of different price increase announcements in various product lines and geographies in recent months. If we look at the second quarter, how would you characterize the potential for sequential improvement in price in each of your coatings segments compared to the first quarter? Perhaps, you can give us a sense of what you've achieved and what's on the come still there.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [67]

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Well, I think, Kevin, naturally, we always get better traction and quicker traction in our Performance Coatings segment. And it's harder, but we do get it eventually in our Industrial Coatings segment. As you know, our Industrial Coatings segment has a number of very large, very sophisticated customers that makes it more difficult to get it. But they do understand, in all cases, that about 70% of our costs are raw materials. So it's impossible for us to sit here and absorb that kind of cost. So we will get it, but what I would say is we get it typically quicker in the Performance Coatings area, and we will see -- sequentially, we'll see both go up, but we will see better on the Performance Coatings side.

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Kevin William McCarthy, Vertical Research Partners, LLC - Partner [68]

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Very good. And then as a follow-up on industrial, Michael, you had good sales growth, and I thought the commentary sounded constructive, yet your margins were down 70 basis points year-over-year. I suspect the issue is what you just alluded to. I think you had minus 1% on price, as I understand it. Perhaps, you could just elaborate more on whether and when you might be able to get above the waterline there and get it to 0 or plus 1%.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [69]

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Well, Kevin, I always give the guidance that it takes 6 to 9 months for the company, so you probably should assume 9 to 12 months in that segment because it's a little harder to get it. But we will get it, and I just think it takes a little bit longer. But it is being offset significantly by manufacturing performance and good cost control across the company. So when you look at it, that has helped us a lot.

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Operator [70]

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The next question will be from Michael Sison of KeyBanc.

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Michael J. Sison, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD and Equity Research Analyst [71]

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In terms of Performance Coatings, when you think about the positives you've seen thus far and some of the negatives, when do you think some of the growth can outweigh sort of the negatives in marine and generate some volume growth this year?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [72]

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Well, if you assume that marine touches bottom and starts not having any further negatives, that puts you 1 or 2 quarters out on marine. I would tell you that the rest of this segment is in pretty good shape. Aerospace will -- might be flat to slightly up, but refinish is continuing to do well. The distracted driving has helped. The miles driven has helped. Employment being up helps. All that leads to congestion on the road. So the rest of the segment is in pretty good shape.

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Michael J. Sison, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD and Equity Research Analyst [73]

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Great. And then for Industrial Coatings, you've had a couple of quarters now of solid volume growth. And industrial production generally has been kind of sluggish, and it sounds like you're -- we're kind of seeing things pick up a little bit. Would you -- could you expect that volume growth maybe even get better in the next couple of quarters?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [74]

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I'm not putting a big bull's eye on that. Again, we see a lot of optimism, but we haven't seen the order book do that. Our outperformance in that segment has really been driven by technology, and also because of share growth due to good performance of the teams. So I guess, I'll temper your optimism for now, and let's hope that you're right.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [75]

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And then globally, Mike, we do -- we have, as Michael mentioned in his prepared remarks, some very hard comps coming up. We had mid-single-digit growth in a lot of these businesses. Now we're starting to lap some of that. So again, for our numbers, in particular, the comps are a little bit harder, but we still feel good about where we sit technology-wise.

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Operator [76]

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The next question will be from Dmitry Silversteyn of Longbow Research.

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Dmitry Silversteyn, Longbow Research LLC - Senior Research Analyst [77]

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A lot of my questions have been answered, but I just like to follow-up on Mike's last question of general industrial. Can you talk a little bit more -- provide a little bit more detail either by product types, like oil coatings or powder coatings or regions or end markets, where -- sort of what are the good guys and what are the bad guys? Where do you see growth in market share gains and where things are still so sluggish that even with your technology driven market share gains, you're still a little bit underwater year-over-year?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [78]

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So Dmitry, the segments, the sub-segments that are doing well, automotive parts doing well, electronics materials, doing well, transportation, general finishes, appliances. The encouraging one for us is heavy-duty equipment. It's up. Now that's a combination of share gain, plus that's coming off the floor. So I think that's all good. The segments that are kind of not doing as well, the extrusion market, the wood market, the coil market, those are the -- some of the segments that are not as robust. But globally, we had a really outstanding performance across all the world. I mean, whether it's Asia, Latin America, Europe, our Industrial Coatings segment team has been doing an outstanding job, and I want to complement them on that.

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Dmitry Silversteyn, Longbow Research LLC - Senior Research Analyst [79]

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Okay, Mike. And then my second question, just sort of in the context of a strong contractor market, and you guys saw very strong growth in your stores. And your competitor, we had a conference call earlier this morning, also mentioned very strong growth. Why is that not being reflected in the dealer channel? I mean, is the share losses for them so great that they just can't offset even a mid-single-digit improvement in what looks like a do-it-for-me market in the first quarter?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [80]

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Well, I think our friends in Cleveland and us provide more value, more locations, more service. And so when there is opportunity for another incremental sale, the 2 of us are probably getting more than our fair share in that segment because of what we both offer to the marketplace.

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Dmitry Silversteyn, Longbow Research LLC - Senior Research Analyst [81]

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Okay. All right. So it sounds it's as much execution as it is the market that's driving these stronger sales for the company-owned stores for you and the Cleveland company?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [82]

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Correct.

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Operator [83]

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The next question will come from Laurence Alexander of Jefferies.

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Laurence Alexander, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - VP and Equity Research Analyst [84]

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Do you have -- with the strengths that you're seeing in orders, I mean, and the number of your markets that are now running in expansionary mode, and you're coming in above the market trends, do you think, if raw materials roll over, you'll be able to retain more of that rather than pass it through to the customers?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [85]

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Well, we always work collaboratively with our customers, so we don't try to over recover. We try to be exactly what the market's going on. But what I would tell you is that we have expectations for productivity. We have expectations for manufacturing efficiency. We have expectations on our sustainability initiatives, where we're less energy consumed, less waste. So there's opportunities to continue to improve the margins. But from the raw materials side, typically, we ask for what we're having to absorb.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [86]

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And Laurence, if I could add, we are working on reformulation, as we typically do in an inflationary environment. So not only are we working with our customers on price, we're trying to engineer some of this out as well, so we don't have to go as forcefully to our customers. So we're working on the technology side as well.

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Laurence Alexander, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - VP and Equity Research Analyst [87]

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And can you give a bit more granularity around the strengths in automotive refinish volumes in U.S., Canada, and Latin America? And particularly, any sense as to whether that -- how sustainable that should be?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [88]

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Yes. So the market in the U.S. is the strongest globally. Latin America would be next, followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. We do think these are sustainable trends. The expanding carpark is a reality. The expanding miles driven is a reality, and so some of the other things I talked about earlier. So I think that's going to continue. And plus, in that segment, you also have commercial transport. So the fact that the economy is trending up, you're going to have more big trucks built. So that's a positive for us as well.

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Operator [89]

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The next question will come from P.J. Juvekar of Citi.

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P.J. Juvekar, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Global Head of Chemicals and Agriculture and MD [90]

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Yes. In 2011, when TiO2 prices spiked last, I think it is you who was most aggressive in sort of sorting TiO2 from China and also reformulating your paints. Given that you already done that, what can you do now as TiO2 prices begin to go up again?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [91]

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Well, P.J., I would tell you that, that is a never-ending quest for us now. So we are constantly looking at how do you reformulate that, how do you use other extenders, how do you work with your customers on formulations that reduce the need for TiO2. So we're certainly not going to have -- we've taken out about 10% since 2011. So it's harder, but it's not impossible.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [92]

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And P.J., we don't think that we're on the same -- anywhere near the same trajectory in the TiO2 market. We are seeing inflation there. That inflation, as you mentioned, was 100% inflation. Again, we're seeing inflation. We need to get price, but it's not on that same level.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [93]

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And I would tell you, I would add, P.J., that the TiO2 companies, I think, regret what happened because that took so much demand out of the marketplace. And my guess is they won't make that mistake again.

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P.J. Juvekar, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Global Head of Chemicals and Agriculture and MD [94]

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That's clear. And Michael, when you took the job, organic growth was your priority. But the reality is that the economies are not growing, and I would say your organic growth has been between 1% to 2%. Is that what's really driving PPG towards big M&A?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [95]

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No, I would not say that's the case at all. What I would say is acquisitions have historically always made a better return than buying back shares. And so, as you know, this coatings franchise continues to throw off a lot of consistent cash flow. And we consistently integrate companies very well, and we can capture those synergies very well. We have a proven track record of more than 50 acquisitions in the last 10 years. We have a playbook that is well understood within the company, and for us, this just makes perfect sense. So we're going to continue down this path.

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Operator [96]

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The next question will be from Jim Sheehan of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

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James Michael Sheehan, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [97]

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A question on your comments on national retail accounts. You described that qualitatively as mixed. But it does sound like that may be a little bit better than your competitor did. And I'm just wondering, are your brand initiatives gaining traction there? Or are you seeing some type of inventory adjustments that would cause you to be outperforming peers in that category?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [98]

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Well, I can't comment on what my friend said because I had our Annual Shareholder Meeting at the exact same time as they were making their comments. But what I would tell you is our commentary is pretty specific, and we would just stay with that.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [99]

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Jim, we don't feel there's a performance gap, us versus market. Again, we recognized last year, as an industry, this was a slower-growing channel, and that this is -- this first quarter was a continuation of that, albeit again, at the very beginning of the paint season. We certainly hope and are working with our national customers to help and perk that channel up as much as possible hopefully at or above market. We just haven't seen that at this point.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [100]

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And maybe I'll add to that, Jim. What I said earlier was the average median income of the person walking into the big boxes, let's call it, $45,000. They can't all be sold premium paint. And every time you let somebody walk out of those big boxes without a can of paint, when you could have sold them a $20 or $25 can of paint, that's a loss, and I think that's where we're trying to encourage all our retail partners, is don't let people walk out. Anybody that walks in, walks up to that chip rack, make sure they walk out with somebody's can of paint.

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James Michael Sheehan, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [101]

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Great. And then on the aerospace subsegment, you talked about the airplane makers not getting their act together. Can you talk a little bit about how you see trends shaping up there? That's obviously not going to persist forever. Do you see any kind of modest acceleration happening in the next couple of quarters in aerospace?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [102]

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No, we don't see any change. If you look at it, Boeing's orders -- or deliveries, excuse me, were actually down 7% quarter-over-quarter. Airbus' were up 11%, so a net change of 4%. Backlog for both of them are in excess of 7 or 8 years. So we haven't seen that acceleration. I would tell you that the business jet market, though, is getting -- and it's got to be getting near the bottom. It was the lowest -- in 2016, it was the lowest since 2004. So I would say that there's probably likely recovery coming in that market. So that's probably -- and plus, we know military is definitely coming back. So you got military probably going to get better. You got general aviation. You got a lot of miles being flown by the major carriers. So that's a positive. So there's actually more positive trends than negative. It's just hasn't manifested itself in new planes being built.

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Operator [103]

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The next question will come from Vincent Andrews of Morgan Stanley.

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Matthew James Gingrich, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate [104]

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This is Matt Gingrich, on for Vincent. I was wondering if it's possible to quantify the headwind in industrial from the higher transportation and logistics cost.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [105]

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Just as a reminder, last year, it was north of -- well north of 5 -- last year, for fourth quarter, it was well north of $5 million. This year, it was just south of $5 million. And as Michael said in his opening comments, we expect that to dissipate in Q2. So it'll be very low single digits in Q2.

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Matthew James Gingrich, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate [106]

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And then on the margin profile, the acquisitions in industrial, there is a comment in your slide deck that you're saying that they underperformed the segment average. I was wondering if you expect that going forward or if this is more of a one-time dynamic.

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [107]

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No. Virtually, every company we acquire has margins lower than the PPG margins. And virtually, every company we buy within 1 year or 2 or 3, we get up to PPG margins. We have a strong track record in doing that. So this is no different. So we bought coating -- the MetoKote. We're bringing their margins up. They had a very nice first quarter, but still below the company average. We bought Univer -- the 50% of Univer we didn't own in Italy for architectural coatings, we're bringing that up. We've bought the remaining in DEUTEK architectural company, a significant improvement with -- they have a great management team. We're very thrilled to have them join us. In fact, they have a long runway with those folks because they're talented people, and so this is no different than we've seen anywhere else, acquire, improve, get to company average or exceed.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [108]

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And for those acquisitions, if I can add, again, the management team at MetoKote remains in place. As Michael mentioned, management team at DEUTEK remains in place. So we're very pleased to have these people as part of our organization.

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Matthew James Gingrich, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate [109]

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Great. So gradual improvement but still lagging segment average through the balance of the year, likely?

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [110]

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Certainly for the balance of the year, yes.

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Operator [111]

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The next question will come from Don Carson of Susquehanna Financial.

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Donald Carson, Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division - Senior Analyst [112]

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A question on your heat map on Slide 5. You've got very divergent trends in automotive. In refinish, you're growing above an expanding market. In OEM, you're growing below a declining market. So I'm just wondering about sustainability of those trends, and specifically, what's happening in automotive OEM. And then the refinish growth, is that sort of distribution-driven that you're getting share at MSOs and sort of taking share from second-tier producers or is it more product-driven?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [113]

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Well, on refinish, we're definitely gaining share. There's 2 of us that are consistently gaining share in that market. As far as the dichotomy between the growth rates, they're 2 different markets, really. So let's start with automotive. In the automotive market, we say, globally, demand builds would be up 1% to 2%, probably closer to 2%, but it varies by area. So U.S. sales we said plateaued, but builds are going to be down marginally. And then in Europe, we see Western Europe builds are growing. That's continuing. But in -- I would say in the other parts of Eastern Europe, probably not as robust. Latin America, getting better. And China, people always are nervous about China. We remain constructive on China. January sales were down. February was up. March was up. We think people are going to get used to this tax not being -- tax abatement not being there. It's still the most important thing for people. You want a status symbol to own a car in China, so we think demand will continue to grow. India is going to grow more than 7%. So overall, it's going to be a solid market, not as good as last year. Last year grew more than 3%, but overall, still a good market.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [114]

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And Don, if you summarize what's happening, our positions versus the market, generally, in the highest growth markets, we're outperforming the industry. In the markets that are shrinking, they're the ones where we're not performing. We're performing at or below industry. So again, we positioned ourselves well in the growing markets.

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Operator [115]

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The next question will be from Mike Harrison of Seaport Global Securities.

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Michael Joseph Harrison, Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Chemicals Analyst [116]

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Just to continue on the auto OEM question, you've discussed the reasons in the past that are driving your below-market growth in North America and talking about some of the reallocation of resources to drive growth in other regions and other faster-growing regions. Can you talk, though, about when you would expect to see U.S. and Canada get to at-market growth? And is there any point in the near future where you could see allocating resources to gain new wins with auto OEM customers in North America?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [117]

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Sure, Mike. This is Michael. The way I would think about that is we should start to lap some of these loss of market share in the U.S. late in the third quarter, early in the fourth quarter. And then, so first quarter of next year, we should start outperforming industry in the U.S. and Canada. And given the fact that we already outperformed the other 3 regions, and globally, we outperformed, this will put us back on a very, very solid track on the automotive market globally.

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Michael Joseph Harrison, Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Chemicals Analyst [118]

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And then I wanted to also ask, just on the MetoKote business, you referenced that is a business that was below average margin, but starting to improve. Can you just talk about how that integration process is going? I know that, that coatings services business is a little bit of a step-out for you guys. How is that business model working for you and for your customers?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [119]

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Well, it's a very small business when you look at it versus all the PPG. Their sales in the first quarter were up 11% year-over-year. So I would say it's performing well. Margins were up year-over-year. I would tell you that they have had 2 significant wins. They had a nice win with somebody in the electric vehicle market. That was a very good win. And they also had some nice equipment sales. And the beauty about the equipment sales is that they were able to bring our Industrial Coatings team along with them and provide a total services solution to this customer. And we have another large customer in the industrial space that wants to get out of the painting of parts business, and they asked us if we would combine our traditional paint business with the coating services. So I think there's more opportunities to integrate this and become a seamless part of our product offering to our customers.

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Operator [120]

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The next question will come from Arun Viswanathan of RBC Capital Markets.

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Arun S. Viswanathan, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [121]

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So I just had a question on general industrial. Are you guys seeing trends? You talked about heavy-duty improving in some of the other markets. Are you guys seeing a noticeable uptick incrementally, sequentially from Q4 to Q1? Do you expect that to continue through the year? And maybe if you could just parse it out by region.

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [122]

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So Arun, as Michael mentioned, this sector is coming really off the floor. So we're seeing a gradual recovery. We would hope, at some point, if the -- we talked about a lot about infrastructure politically, if there's a benefit there that will come slowly. By region, we didn't see the same significant drop in Asia that we did see in the U.S. and European region a couple of years ago. So that has been a little more steady. And again, in Europe, we're mirroring the U.S. but not in the same volatile pattern of a couple of years ago.

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Arun S. Viswanathan, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [123]

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Great. And then just on the M&A front, you talked about still pursuing other potential targets in your pipeline. Could you characterize how those -- how large those are and if there's any benefits to doing small bolt-ons versus continuing to pursue a large acquisition like Akzo?

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Vincent J. Morales, PPG Industries, Inc. - CFO and SVP [124]

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Yes, I'll take that. We remain interested in consolidating the space. We have -- we've had and continue to have active discussions. The pipeline, I think, as people realize, the past 18 months remains active. And we're certainly interested and continuing dialogue with all the parties. And as we did last year with MetoKote, DEUTEK, as Michael mentioned, et cetera, we have room in our portfolio when these enhance shareholder value.

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Arun S. Viswanathan, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [125]

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And just one more if I may. Would you be able to characterize, like how much of your portfolio, you think, is market-dependent improving? In the past, you said that Europe recovery would be very beneficial to you guys. Is that still the case? Any other comments around what you guys are looking for to really start to see your organic volume growth improve?

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Michael H. McGarry, PPG Industries, Inc. - Chairman and CEO [126]

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Yes, I would say the European performance, anytime we have new sales or higher sales in Europe, we drop 30% to 40% of that incrementally to the bottom line. That's our best place. If we're going to choose a place to have growth, that would be it. The U.S. would be next, and then Asia because we are sold out in Asia. That's the place that we continue to add capacity. So preferentially, we're very strong in Europe, but we're not ashamed to take growth anywhere and the teams are expected to grow everywhere around the world.

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Operator [127]

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And ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to hand the conference back over to Scott Minder for his closing comments.

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Scott Minder, PPG Industries, Inc. - Director of IR [128]

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Once again, I'd like to thank everyone for their time and interest in PPG. If you have any further questions, please contact our Investor Relations Department. This concludes our First Quarter 2017 Earnings Call.

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Operator [129]

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Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time, the conference has concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect your lines.