PILKINGTON owner Nippon Sheet Glass saw revenues and profits plunge as its customers in the construction and automotive sectors continue to suffer in the global economic downturn.
The Japanese giant reported sales for the nine months to December of £2.7bn – down 9% on the previous year.
That meant operating profits fell 61% to £32.7m.
The group said that the European carmaking and construction markets remained “challenging”, dragging sales down despite improving conditions in North America and Japan.
The results come just days after the company said it planned to axe more than 150 jobs in Merseyside.
NSG is cutting 87 jobs at its Float Works site in St Helens, while another 33 will be cut at the town’s Watson Street works.
The company is also closing its factory in Aintree later this month, with the loss of 51 jobs. A sister site in Basingstoke and two European plants will also shut.
The latest closures follow several closures last year. NSG revealed yesterday that 2,350 people had left the group by December 31.
It said: “During the third quarter of the year, the group faced continuing difficult conditions in its main automotive and architectural markets.
“Volumes continued to be weak with no significant seasonal Autumn improvement.
“Economic difficulties in Europe continued to depress construction and refurbishment activity, and, consequently, architectural volumes were significantly below the previous year.
“Third quarter demand whilst remaining weak, was similar to the previous quarter. Prices continue to be at historically low levels.
“Automotive markets were also challenging, with low levels of consumer demand in most major markets leading to reductions in vehicle production when compared to the previous year.”
“Calendar-year 2012 vehicle sales for Western Europe were approximately nine percent below the previous year. Exports of premium vehicles continued to provide some support to production levels.”