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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2005

O-I profit doubles, sales grow

Soft market conditions and inflationary pressures didn't seem to faze Owens-Illinois Inc. in the first quarter this year, as Toledo's second-largest company reported yesterday that its profit for the period doubled and sales rose by a third.

The nation's largest glass container maker said its profit for the quarter ending March 31 was $117.5 million, or 73 cents a share, up from $54.8 million, or 33 cents a share, for the period a year earlier.

The financial report, released after the stock market closed, showed sales for the quarter jumped to $1.66 billion from $1.27 billion a year earlier.

Improved production, pricing, and product sales mix contributed to the solid quarter, the company said, but a soft market for beer and food containers and higher raw material and packaging costs hurt the results.

The company's debt was reduced to $5.26 billion and asbestos-liability cash payments were down slightly to $45.5 million. New claims also declined, but 35,000 claims are pending. Debt and asbestos liability are two items that have clouded the firm's financial picture.

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