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Published: Saturday, 5/10/2008

Shareholder meeting at O-I strikes happy note

There was a celebratory mood yesterday at the annual shareholders' meeting of Owens-Illinois Inc. and with good reason, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Albert Stroucken said.

"Last year our company had just embarked on our road to recovery, and we faced a choice of paths," he told about five dozen employees and shareholders gathered in a conference room at its Perrysburg campus.

"Our company took the right path, and because of that had its best year since it returned to the New York Stock Exchange in 1991," he said.

During the 20-minute meeting, shareholders asked no questions and offered no proposals.

Three board members were re-elected and the company's auditing firm approved.

The firm made $1.3 billion, or $7.99 a share, in 2007, up from a loss of $28 million, or 32 cents a share, in 2006.

Its stock, which closed yesterday at $53.58 per share, up 71 cents, was a top performer on the New York Stock Exchange during 2007, more than doubling in price.

The meeting's focus was O-I's banner year.

Mr. Stroucken pointed out significant improvements in margins the firm had been able to put in place globally, saying the firm had decided it could not afford to subsidize inflationary pressures on customers by keeping prices stagnant.

"Margin trumps volume," the CEO said.



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