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PPG Industries 3rd-quarter profit rises 9 percent

PITTSBURGH -- PPG Industries said Thursday that its third-quarter net income rose 9 percent as it took advantage of cost reductions and strong sales of coatings.

The Pittsburgh company said it made $339 million, or $2.18 per share, compared with $311 million, or $1.96 per share, a year earlier. Revenue was down 1 percent to $3.85 billion.

Excluding a $9 million charge for selling off its commodity chemicals business, the company made $2.24 per share. That beat Wall Street's expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $2.20 per share on revenue of $3.91 billion.

The news helped drive PPG shares higher in afternoon trading Thursday. They were up 74 cents to $119.71.

PPG, which makes coatings and sealants for automotive and industrial uses, said it hit a record for third-quarter earnings despite uneven regional demand for its products.

The company reported it was helped by strong North American sales, especially in the auto original equipment sector. The company also cut costs with restructuring actions and is on schedule to deliver $40 million to $50 million in partial-year savings for 2012, it said. Earlier in the year PPG cut about 2,000 jobs, mostly in Europe.

Although revenue overall was down slightly, industrial coatings, which includes automakers, rose 5 percent to $1.1 billion. But performance coatings, which includes aircraft, was flat at $1.2 billion, and architectural coatings in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, fell 2 percent to $564 million.

For the fourth quarter, a seasonally slower period for PPG, the company expects little change in the inconsistent economies outside of North America. "We also anticipate measured economic growth in North America and expect to benefit further from some of the highest growth sectors this year, such as automotive (original equipment manufacturer) and aerospace," CEO Charles Bunch said in a statement.