PPG Industries this morning disclosed it is in discussions with Essilor International, its partner in the Transitions Optical joint venture, about whether one of the partners might buy out the other or whether to restructure the venture's terms.
Downtown-based PPG owns a majority 51 percent stake in Transitions, which produces the technology that makes eyeglass lenses tint in sunlight. Essilor, a French lens maker, holds 49 percent.
As PPG has shed some old-line businesses in recent years including automotive glass, it has held up Transitions as one of its growth engines.
The Florida-based venture, launched in 1990, has estimated sales of more than $500 million.
Separately, PPG said fourth-quarter profit rose to $227 million, or $1.46 per share including after-tax charges related to acquisitions and the pending spinoff of its commodity chemicals business.
Sales for the quarter were $3.6 billion, up slightly from $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Adjusted profit excluding the charges was $238 million, or $1.53 per share.
Commenting on the results, chairman Charles Bunch said PPG had "an exceptional year ... despite moderate overall economic conditions that varied by region and end-use market, and continued negative impacts from currency translation."
For the full year, profit fell to $941 million, or $6.06 per share, from 2011 profit of $1.1 billion, or $6.87 per share.
Sales for all of 2012 totaled $15.2 billion, up 2 percent from 2011 sales of $14.9 billion.
Joyce Gannon: email@example.com or 412-263-1580.