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PPG Industries 1st-qtr profit soars on unit sale

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- PPG Industries Inc., which makes paints and coatings for autos, aircraft and other industries, said Thursday that its first-quarter net income soared, mainly the result of a large gain related to the sale of its $2.5 billion commodity chemicals business.

PPG earned $2.41 billion, or $16.31 per share, for the three months ended March 31. A year earlier it earned $13 million, or 8 cents per share.

The current quarter included $2.19 billion in income from discontinued operations for the unit sale. PPG Industries said in July that it was selling the division to Georgia Gulf in a cash-and-stock deal, which closed in January.

Removing the one-time gain related to the sale of the commodity chemicals business, earnings from continuing operations were $1.58 per share.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.54 per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue was basically flat at $3.33 billion. While industrial coatings revenue rose, performance coatings, optical and specialty materials and architectural coatings -EMEA revenue all declined. Revenue for the glass segment was flat.

Wall Street forecast revenue of $3.44 billion.

Chairman and CEO Charles Bunch said in a statement that positive momentum in the U.S. and Asia is expected to continue into the second quarter, while conditions in Europe remain difficult and have limited prospects for near-term improvement.

The Pittsburgh company's stock gained $1.90 to $134.30 before the market open. Shares closed Wednesday at $132.40, down about 2 percent since the start of the year.