April 5, 2012 / 1:42 PM / 5 years ago

PPG sees Q1 profit above Street; to cut 2,000 jobs

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.

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