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Productivity, sales rise, pushing profit up sharply at OC

Sales increases and productivity improvements contributed to major gains in revenues and profit at Owens Corning last year, the company said yesterday.

Sales at the manufacturer of building products and fiberglass rose 14 percent to a record $5.7 billion from $5 billion in 2003, according to a written statement.

Profit rose 77 percent to $204 million from $115 million.

Earnings were released last evening and no company officials were unavailable to comment. In a statement, the firm said it achieved the results despite increases in costs for energy and raw materials.

In keeping with its practice since it filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy laws 4 1/2 years ago, the company did not release a detailed financial statement.

Because the firm plans to cancel existing stock as part of a bankruptcy reorganization plan, officials continued their practice of not showing per-share earnings.

The Fortune 500 company said yesterday that Chapter 11-related expenses fell to $54 million from $85 million the year before.

For the fourth quarter, profit rose 67 percent to $72 million from $43 million in the prior-year period. Sales grew 14 percent to $1.5 billion from $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2003.

The company filed for bankruptcy in October, 2000, to gain relief from multibillion-dollar asbestos liability.

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