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Owens Illinois profits rise 54% in quarter

Owens Illinois Inc. said yesterday that higher prices helped boost profits from bottle sales by 54 percent in the second quarter.

The Perrysburg firm, which is a major supplier to breweries and distilleries worldwide, said it made $231 million, or $1.33 a share, in the period. That compared with $150 million, or 92 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Quarterly sales increased to $2.2 billion from $2 billion.

The firm conceded that it sold fewer bottles. The revenue growth was largely attributable to price increases, sale of more high-end bottles, lower interest payments, and the weakness of the U.S. dollar against currencies where O-I operates, it said.

Al Stroucken, chairman and chief executive officer, said officials expect 2008 to be a record year. "Our strong results this quarter and for the first half of 2008 are further affirmation of the validity of our strategies " he said in a written statement.

Increased raw-material costs and a slowing world economy will make the second half of the year challenging, he added.

The firm released the financial results after the close of stock markets. Shares closed at $48.06, up 23 cents, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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