PPG says it had a solid 2017, and strengthened its position as a global leader in paint and coatings. Chairman and CEO Michael H. McGarry (pictured) told the company’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh that annual sales were approximately $14.8-billion, more than three percent higher than the prior year. “We also continued our legacy of returning cash to shareholders, with more than $1.2-billion returned in 2017 through dividends and share repurchases,” he said. McGarry focused on several strategic actions taken by PPG to make the company stronger and more resilient. This included the acquisitions of The Crown Group, a provider of coating services; DEUTEK, a Romanian architectural coatings leader; and Futian, an automotive refinish company based in Southern China. In addition, McGarry noted, the company completed its multi-year portfolio transformation with the sale of PPG’s US fiberglass business, the company’s last remaining non-core business. He also highlighted PPG’s continued focus on new product development, which included nearly $500-million in research and development investment in 2017. Key sustainability and social responsibility achievements in 2017 included a reduced energy intensity of 22 percent; waste intensity reduction of four percent; and overall greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 25 percent. McGarry also reported that 32 percent of sales came from sustainable-advantaged products. The company met a number of environmental goals ahead of 2020 targets, and developed new, aggressive 2025 sustainability goals. It also invested more than $10.5-million in 2017, supporting hundreds of organizations across 29 countries. Looking ahead, McGarry said, “As we look at 2018, our 135th year in operation, the focus on our purpose of ‘protecting and beautifying the world’ has never been stronger and extends beyond the economic boundaries of our business to ensure the long-term sustainability of PPG. “We remain focused on delivering higher organic growth, including continued commercialization of our innovative, industry leading paints, coatings and specialty materials,” he continued. “We’re continuously focused on emerging trends, such as mobility, working alongside customers to create solutions. We remain in a position of strength with significant financial flexibility going forward. Year-to-date 2018, we have deployed another $600-million in share repurchases, and we remain committed to deploying at least $2.4-billion on acquisitions and share repurchases this year.” www.ppg.com