NEW YORK, April 5 (Reuters) - Chemical maker PPG Industries Inc forecast first-quarter profit above Wall Street expectations and said it would lay off 2,000 workers, mostly in Europe, due to weak demand.
Excluding one-time items, the company expects to earn $1.75 to $1.80 per share for the first quarter. By that measure, analysts average estimate is $1.44, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of Pittsburgh-based PPG rose 3.7 percent to $97.42 in early trading Thursday after the announcement.
Business conditions during the first quarter were "strong" in North America, "solid" in Asia, but "muted" in Europe, Chief Executive Charles Bunch said in a statement.
Due to the layoffs, PPG will record an after-tax charge of $164 million. It will also take a $208 million pretax restructuring charge.
The company has roughly 38,000 workers around the world.
PPG expects the restructuring to save about $140 million per year once complete.
"These cost-reduction actions, while always difficult decisions, are needed to ensure that our cost structure is appropriate for business conditions and that all of our operations remain competitive globally," Bunch said.