Saint-Gobain sees slowdown
Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA, Europe’s biggest supplier of building materials with Akron area operations, said Thursday that revenue growth will slow this year as Europe’s economic slump could force it to shut some outlets and book charges.
Saint-Gobain has nearly 1,000 Ohio employees and a payroll of about $59 million spread among 21 locations in the state; most are in the Akron area and make a wide variety of items.
Revenue growth excluding exchange rates and acquisitions will slow from last year’s 5 percent, the company said. Net income rose 14 percent in 2011 to $1.68 billion last year as Saint-Gobain took a $503 million charge to write down the value of its U.S. gypsum business and to close some distribution sites in southern and eastern Europe. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected on average a profit of $2.15 billion.
In 2011, the company’s operating profit rose 10 percent to $4.52 billion. The impact of rising raw material and energy prices on the company might be around $591 million in 2012, following an impact “close” to $920 million in 2011, the CEO said.
Nestle beats estimates
Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food company with a Prepared Foods Division based in Solon, reported that 2011 sales growth beat analysts’ estimates. It forecast higher 2012 earnings as it introduces products such as the Nescafe Alegria coffee maker.
Sales rose 7.5 percent excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency shifts. Sales from its Americas unit gained 6.2 percent, helped by the introduction of products such as DiGiorno Pizza Combos.
Sterling has new COO
Sterling Jewelers Inc., the Akron-headquartered operator of the Kay Jewelers and Jared chains, said Ed Hrabak, 56, will succeed Bill Montalto, the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Hrabak is now Sterling’s senior vice president of merchandising. The change will happen at the end of June, when Montalto retires after 26 years.
Hrabak, who lives in Medina County, joined Sterling in 1987 as a merchandise buyer. He will report to Mark Light, president and CEO of Sterling, the U.S. division of Signet Jewelers Ltd. Sterling employs about 2,300 locally.
Builder discusses leadership
Joe Pusateri, president of Elite Homes in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday told the Akron Roundtable about leadership lessons he has learned from diverse experiences, including building the first new homes in more than 50 years in a poor Louisville neighborhood.
About 10 years later, in 2003, Pusateri helped raise funds to help save the Louisville Orchestra, which was considering seeking bankruptcy protection, he told the audience at the Quaker Inn in downtown Akron. In 2008, Pusateri was the lead home builder for an episode of ABC television’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Jobs move to Kansas
Trucking company YRC Worldwide will add 120 jobs to its headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., with most of those coming from its soon-to-close Akron offices at the former Roadway headquarters. YRC is selling the Akron building to Stuart Lichter, developer of the new Goodyear headquarters project. Most of the jobs will be in accounting, customer service and cargo claims. YRC last month announced it was selling the former Roadway building. It said at the time that the offices were expected to close in March. Trucking company Yellow bought Roadway in 2003, creating YRC. Between 50 and 100 people in Akron were expected to lose their jobs, depending on how many accepted jobs in Kansas, South Dakota and Iowa. YRC was also moving jobs from Akron offices to terminals in the Akron area.
Compiled from staff and wire reports