Pilkington Reports OE Auto Glass Demand Rising, Replacement Up Over Last Year
November 2, 2011

Pilkington Automotive has reported that vehicle manufacturer demand for auto glass “recovered to more normal levels” during the second quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2012, as part of parent company NSG Group’s latest report. On the replacement side, the company says it is “performing well, with improved product mix.”

Overall, Pilkington reports decreased revenue and profits from the same quarter of FY 2011, “due largely to the impact of the March 2011 Japan earthquake.”

“The financial impact was less than expected, as many of the [Pilkington’s] customers were able to recover production levels more quickly than had previously been anticipated,” writes the company.

Worldwide, the automotive business recorded sales of approximately $1.6 billion (USD) (128,181 million Japanese Yen) and an operating profit of $47 million (USD) (3,725 million Japanese Yen).

In North America, the company reports decreased OE revenues and profits from the previous year, but improved profitability on the replacement glass side “due to a strong product mix and an improved operational performance.”

The company says its OE profits also were affected in North America by “increased input costs.”

In Europe, which represents 48 percent of the company’s automotive sales, revenues increased in the OE sector, due to improving demand, but profit decreased due to rising costs, start-up costs on new facilities and demand volatility, the company reports. Looking to the future, company officials say demand levels have now stabilized in the European OE market.

On the European replacement side, the company reports that “business [was] robust, as reduced volumes were offset by an improved product mix.”

In Japan, which makes up 16 percent of the Group’s Automotive sales, both revenues and profits were below last year, “as customers reduced their production levels during the first quarter in response to component shortages, following the Japan earthquake.” Demand recovered during the second quarter, but is still below the levels of the previous year, according to the company.

In South America, company officials report an increase in volume, “although the second quarter was relatively weak with some customers taking extended closures to re-balance inventory levels.” Pilkington officials say profits were similar to the previous year in South America, as the higher volume was partially offset by increased input costs, demand volatility and start-up costs on new investments.

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