Volume 36, Issue 7, July 2001



Solutia Reports First-Quarter Results; $17-Million Gain in Net Income

St. Louis-based Solutia Inc. has released its 2001 first-quarter statement. Net income for the segment was $22 million or 21 cents per share on net sales of $747 million. The net income includes a $17-million gain or 16 cents per share, from an insurance settlement, and a $4-million or 4 cents per share loss. The latter was due to a temporary shutdown of the Chocolate Bayou intermediates facility in February which was caused by a power outage. The quarter’s results compare to 2000's $51-million net income, or 46 cents per share on net sales of $846 million.

Butler Manufacturing Makes Plans to Rebuild Market Share

Butler Manufacturing Co. of Kansas City, Mo., owner of the Vistawall Group, is taking steps to improve its market share. According to a news release, Butler expected it would have a "modest loss" for the first quarter, projected to be about $3.3 million or 52 cents per share. This is compared with $2.2 million in earnings last year, which equals 33 cents per share.
Like most of the primary glass manufacturers, Butler cites unfavorable weather conditions and a downturn in the economy as reasons for the loss (see May 2001 USGlass, page 18 for related story). "The combination of a severe winter coupled with the slowing economy, particularly in the manufacturing sector, are the primary factors for the loss," said John Holland, president and chief executive officer. "Business conditions remain good for the Vistawall Architectural Products Group, and the building systems segment's China metal buildings business, although both  businesses have been affected by the winter weather," he added.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Butler has spent the past two years changing over to a "leaner" manufacturing process. At one time, for example, all of the company's metal-building parts were made in batches; now the company is trying to produce to order.
According to Robert Marshall, an analyst with First Union Securities, Butler is heading in the right direction. He pointed out the company's 
24-percent increase in operating profit of $45.2 million in 2000 compared with $36.5 million in 1999.

Virtek Reports Increase in First-Quarter Sales

Virtek Vision International of Waterloo, Ontario, has announced its results for the quarter ending April 30, 2001. Sales totaled $7.97 million—a  46-percent increase compared to last year’s $5.47 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the quarter were $933,000, compared to $1.2 million for fiscal 2001's first quarter. Before goodwill charges, net income was $392,605 compared to $502,861 for the first quarter of 2001. After taxes, net income was $150,063 or 1 cent per share compared to $477,861 or 3 cents per share in the 2001 first quarter.

PPG Board of Directors Sets Dividend

Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries' board of directors has declared a regular quarterly dividend of 42 cents a share. The dividend was payable June 12 to shareholders of record May 10.



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