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PPG Industries

PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG)

Company Description

PPG is the largest US paint company and has been a major producer of glass. (Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.) It is a leading supplier of glass and paints to the automotive industry and is especially well known for its Uniprime electrodeposition primers. It also offers a full range of paint products including Olympic Stain and Lucite house paint, and auto refinish enamels, used in auto repair. PPG is a global player with subsidiaries and/or operations everywhere.

In July, 2012, Georgia Gulf announced plans to merge with the commodities chemicals business being spun off from PPG Industries. The PPG products are primarily chlor-alkali. The combined companies will be the third largest producer of chlor-alkali in the US after Dow Chemical and Occidental. PPG will own 50.5% of the combined companies.

Chlor-alkali consists of the production of chlorine and usually sodium hydroxide (aka caustic soda or lye) by electrolysis of salt. Chlorine is used primarily to make PVC plastic; caustic soda is a major source of sodium in a variety of industries. This is the classical co-product situation in that chlorine cannot be stored and the two products have different demand/growth cycles. Keeping them in balance is usually accomplished by raising prices on one and cutting on the other, but it's a roller coaster for all involved.

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