November 15, 2011 / 7:56 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-PPG's optical products unit hit by Thai flooding

* Declares force majeure for optical products

* No timeframe for return to normal operations

* Shares down slightly

Nov 15 (Reuters) - PPG Industries Inc said flooding in Thailand has hit manufacturing and distribution operations at its optical products unit, which makes the popular Transitions eyeglass lenses.

The company declared a force majeure for certain products as a result of the flooding. Force majeure removes liability for natural events such as catastrophes, and a company can suspend delivery of a product.

The decision was based on production suspensions at PPG’s facilities in Bang Pa-In and Lat Krabang districts, the coatings and specialty products company said in a statement.

The Pittsburgh-based company’s optical and specialty materials business pulled in about 8 percent of its net sales in the third quarter.

“The significant flooding has severely affected our ability to provide products to our customers,” said Richard Elias, senior vice president, Optical and Specialty Materials.

“This is due both to the direct impact on our facilities and certain disruptions in the optical supply chain.”

Elias said he was unable to provide a time frame for when the company’s operations will return to normal.

Thailand’s worst floods in half a century have killed more than 500 people, damaged millions of tonnes of rice, forced a series of industrial estates to close and threaten to inundate the capital, Bangkok.

PPG shares were down slightly at $87.18 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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