PPG held its annual meeting of shareholders virtually where Michael H. McGarry, chairman and CEO reviewed the company’s continued strategic progress, highlighted its performance in 2019, and discussed the unprecedented challenges from the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, this was the first time in the company’s history that the meeting was held virtually, with shareholders participating remotely from around the world.
During the meeting, McGarry first highlighted the company’s 2019 achievements.
“Thanks to our employees and customers, PPG delivered a solid performance in 2019 and continued to strengthen our position as a global leader in the paint and coatings industry despite weakening global manufacturing activity,” McGarry said. “We achieved many of the goals communicated in January 2019, including earnings growth, significant cost savings and completion of a strategic review of our portfolio. We remain focused on executing our growth strategy and driving increased organic and inorganic sales growth.”
McGarry highlighted several financial and strategic highlights for 2019, including:
Full-year sales from continuing operations were approximately $15.1 billion;
Full-year 2019 adjusted earnings per diluted share were $6.22, up 5 percent vs. 2018;
Excluding foreign currency translation, adjusted earnings per share increased about 8 percent and firmly within the 2019 earnings guidance provided in January 2019;
Completing four value-creating acquisitions, including Whitford Worldwide, which specializes in low-friction coatings; Hemmelrath, which produces automotive OEM coatings; Dexmet, a manufacturer of specialty materials for surfaces in aerospace; and Texstars, a manufacturer of high-performance aerospace transparencies.
McGarry also discussed several key sustainability and social responsibility achievements in 2019, including:
33% of sales from sustainably-advantaged products and processes;
25% waste disposal intensity reduction from the 2017 baseline;
32% improvement in spills and releases from 2017 baseline;
33% of manufacturing and R&D locations with zero landfilled process waste;
a record number of COLORFUL COMMUNITIES projects around the world.
PPG launched its latest sustainability report at the meeting.
Looking ahead, McGarry said, “First and most importantly, I want to recognize and thank the PPG employees around the world who are continuing to keep our people, customers and stakeholders safe during this crisis. I could not be more proud of their efforts.
“From a business standpoint, we will not know the full impact of COVID-19 on PPG and our business for some time, but we are working with urgency to take proactive actions to limit the impact as much as possible,” McGarry added. “We will have more to share during our first-quarter earnings call on April 28, and we will continue to keep our stakeholders informed throughout the year. Like you, we are hopeful that, sooner rather than later, the worst will be behind us and we can soon begin to collectively focus on a brighter future.”
At the meeting, shareholders re-elected directors Stephen F. Angel, CEO, Linde plc; Hugh Grant, retired chairman of the board and CEO, Monsanto Company; and Melanie L. Healey, former group president, North America, The Procter & Gamble Company.
Shareholders also approved the appointment of Kathleen A. Ligocki, former CEO, Agility Fuel Solutions, LLC, to PPG’s board of directors, effective immediately.
In addition, shareholders passed a non-binding resolution to approve the compensation of the company’s named executive officers and ratified the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm for 2020.
Shareholder votes were not sufficient to approve proposals to amend the Company’s Articles of Incorporation to provide for the annual election of directors and to amend the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to replace the supermajority voting requirements.
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