Glass Merger

Japan's Nippon Sheet Glass Company will purchase Britain's Pilkington Glass Company in a move that will make it the world's largest flat-glass company.

Nippon Sheet Glass plans to buy the 80 percent of Pilkington that it doesn't already own for $3.8 billion. The deal will give the Japanese company manufacturing operations in 24 countries and sales in more than 130. Currently, Nippon Sheet relies on Japan for 85 percent of its income.

Yozo Izuhara, chairman and CEO of Nippon Sheet, talked about the purchase of Pilkington at a recent press conference. "The purpose and strategy of our merger and acquisition of Pilkington is to be recognized and also advance our position in the global market," he said.

Pilkington, which produces glass for buildings and windshields for cars and airplanes, is currently the second-largest company in the flat-glass market. The company, based in St. Helens in England, has been part of Britain's business scene for the past 186 years.

Transport Venture

Two Japanese transportation companies, Yamato Transport and Seino Transportation, will form a joint venture this month to improve Yamato's distribution services for its corporate customers.

By combining Yamato's quick-delivery service and Seino's shipping channels, the new venture will be able to move products from manufacturers and companies to their factories and customers in only one stop.

Yamato, Japan's leading parcel delivery service, delivers more than one billion packages yearly and operates more than three thousand delivery centers around the world.

Yamato will have an 85 percent stake in the new company and will provide the president.

Industrial Production Up

Japan's industrial production increased for the sixth straight month, making this the longest sustained increase in nine years.

The government said production increased by three-tenths of one percent in January, compared to the previous month. More companies, including Sharp Corporation and Toshiba Corporation, are investing in new factories and machinery.

Japan Airlines Shake-Up

Japan Airlines Corporation, which runs Japan's largest airline, has shaken up its management. Senior Vice President Haruka Nishimatsu will replace Toshiyuki Shinmachi as president on April 1, while Shinmachi will become chairman "without any rights to represent the company."

Under Shinmachi's management, the company has suffered. It predicts a loss of about $406 million this year, which it said was due to rising fuel costs, falling international sales and safety issues. In 2005, JAL reported 14 safety mistakes. Nishimatsu said his highest priority would be to improve the airline's safety.

Twelve new executives will also replace five members of JAL's current management board.