PPG Industries, Inc. is an American Fortune 500 company and global supplier of paints, coatings, and specialty materials. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, PPG operates in more than 70 countries around the globe. By revenue it is the largest coatings company in the world followed by AkzoNobel. It is headquartered in PPG Place, an office and retail complex in downtown Pittsburgh, and is known for its glass facade designed by Philip Johnson.
Founding and 20th century
Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company was founded in 1883 by Captain John Baptiste Ford and John Pitcairn, Jr., at Creighton, Pennsylvania.
Based in Creighton, Pennsylvania (about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River), PPG soon became the United States' first commercially successful producer of high-quality, thick flat glass using the plate process. PPG was also the world's first plate glass plant to power its furnaces with locally produced natural gas, an innovation which rapidly stimulated widespread industrial use of the cleaner-burning fuel.
PPG expanded quickly. By 1900, known as the "Glass Trust", it included 10 plants, had a 65 percent share of the U.S. plate glass market, and had become the nation's second largest producer of paint. Today, known as PPG Industries, the company is a multibillion-dollar, Fortune 500 corporation with 150 manufacturing locations around the world. It now produces coatings, glass, fiberglass, and chemicals.
Pitcairn served as a director of PPG from its start, its president from 1897 to 1905, and chairman of the board from 1894 until his death.
On 19 December 1968 the company changed its name to PPG Industries, Inc., to show its diverse offerings. Ditzler Color Company, established in 1902 in Detroit as an automotive color concern, was purchased by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company (now PPG) in 1928. In the mid-1980s, Cipisa, a Spanish paint company was acquired and renamed PPG Ibérica. The CEO of Cipisa, Pere Nadal Carres became CEO of PPG Ibérica. In 1990 PPG founded Transitions Optical as a joint venture with Essilor.
In October 2000, PPG Industries announced it had agreed to buy Courtaulds Aerospace for $512.5 million. Based in Glendale, California, the aerospace business has annual sales of approximately $240 million, employs 1,200 people. It manufactures sealants in Glendale, California, US and Shildon, England; coatings and sealants in Mojave, California, US; glazing sealants at Gloucester City, New Jersey, US; and coatings at Gonfreville, France. The business also operates 14 application-support centers in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
In 2006, the company rolled out a two-tiered pay system which resulted in massive strikes at union locations across the country. The system, now in place company-wide for non-salaried employees, provides lower rates of pay and fewer benefits to those employed after the roll-out than those employed before the roll-out. In West Virginia, US after a bitter five-month strike, the company still refused to eliminate the two-tiered system. In Lake Charles, Louisiana, US, the employment contracts of union employees had to be extended during a strike regarding the two-tiered system.
In 2007, the company was involved in a lawsuit on failing to disclose a purchase reduction of its two major auto glass customers. On 2 January 2008, PPG acquired the SigmaKalon Group of companies for $3.2 billion from private investment firm Bain Capital, strongly increasing its paint and specialty coatings business.
In 2008, PPG renamed their automotive glass division PGW (Pittsburgh Glass Works) and sold a majority of it to Kohlberg & Company. PPG retained 40% ownership of PGW until March 2016 when they sold their stake to automotive parts salvage company LKQ Corporation.
In 2012, PPG acquired Dyrup A/S, founded in Denmark in 1928 as S. Dyrup & Co A/S by Sigurd Dyrup and Axel Monberg and Ejnar Thorsen of MT Højgaard, some of whose brands are Dyrup, GORI (outdoor woodcare paint), and Bondex.
In April 2013, PPG completed the acquisition of AkzoNobel North American architectural coatings business including Glidden, Liquid Nails, and Flood brands. 2013 revenue was US$15.1 billion, while assets were US$15.9 billion.
On April 1, 2014, PPG finalized the sale of Transitions Optical to its joint venture partner, Essilor International of France, however, PPG’s technical center in Monroeville will continue to provide research and development services for Transitions. On November 5, 2014 PPG closed a deal, to purchase Mexican Consorcio Comex, S.A. de C.V. (“Comex”) for $2.3 billion.
In April 2015, PPG Industries completed the acquisition of REVOCOAT, a global supplier of sealants. Chuck Bunch remains Executive Chairman, while Michael McGarry serves as President & CEO.
In July 2016, PPG announced its sale of the flat glass business to Vitro, a glass manufacturer based in Mexico, for $750 million.
In October 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announced the acquisition of the naming rights to Consol Energy Center by PPG; the facility will be known as PPG Paints Arena.
In September 2017, PPG announced the sale of its remaining fiberglass operations to Nippon Electric Glass for $541 million. This was following PPG's 2016 sale of its European fiberglass operations to NEG, and divesting its ownership in two other Asian fiberglass joint ventures.