PPG Industries, Inc. (NYSE:PPG) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Jan 15, 2015 • 02:00 pm ET
Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the quarter four 2014 PPG Industries earnings call. My name is Sally, and I'll be your operator for today. (Operator Instructions)
I would now like to turn the call over to Vince Morales. Please proceed.
Thank you, Sally. Good afternoon, everybody. Once again this is Vince Morales Vice President, Investor Relations for PPG. We appreciate your continued interest and welcome you to our fourth quarter financial results teleconference.
Joining me from PPG on the call today is Chuck Bunch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael McGarry, Chief Operating Officer and Frank Sklarsky, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Our comments and Q&A related to the financial information released today, Thursday, January 15, 2015. I'll remind everyone that we posted detailed commentary and accompanying presentation slides on our investor center at our website at pPg.com. The slides are also available on the webcast site for this call and provide some additional support to the opening comments that Chuck and Frank will make momentarily.
Ffollowing Chuck's perspective on the company results, Frank will provide a brief financial update and then we will move directly to Q&A. (Forward-looking Cautionary Statements)
with the SEC. Now let me introduce PPG's Chairman and CEO, Chuck Bunch.
Thank you, Vince and good afternoon everyone. Today we reported fourth quarter 2014 financial results that established new fourth quarter milestones for net sales of $3.7 billion and fourth quarter adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations of $2.11. Our sales improved 6%, a figure that includes unfavorable 4% impact from currency translation. So our sales in local currencies grew by 10%. Our sales volumes grew about 4% year-over-year, growth rate higher than our third quarter level, although the overall pace of business remained varied by region, the growth rates of each major region also improved sequentially.
Our US and Canada business delivered sales volume growth, about 5% year-over-year. Our Asia Pacific region also grew 5%, the highest growth rate of the year. Sales volumes in Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew by about 1% after being flat in the third quarter. Our sales volume growth was broad based across our business portfolio, including our industrial coating segment where each business in the segment delivered solid volume growth.
Sales volumes also improved for aerospace, automotive refinishand our architectural coatings business in the US and Canada. For the fourth quarter, we generally experienced normal seasonal trends in all of our businesses and regions. Supplementing the company's volume growth in the quarter were acquisition related sales gains of about 6% comingprimarily from the Comexacquisition, which closed in early November.
Comex haspartial quarter sales of about $175 million with a mid-teen percentage return on sales, reflective of the quality of the business. From an earnings perspective, our fourth quarter adjusted earnings per diluted share of $2.11 improved 26% versus the prior year, supported by growth of at least 10% in each of our reporting segments. The improved segment earnings were driven by higher