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January/February 2002

AGRReports     breaking news

ITC Surveys Industry in Chinese Anti-Dumping Case
As the industry awaits the International Trade Commission's (ITC) final determination in the anti-dumping case filed against Chinese windshield manufacturers by Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries, Safelite Glass Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, and Viracon/ Curvelite of Owatonna, Minn., the ITC is collecting information related to the case through an industry-wide survey (see related story in the November/December 2001 issue of AGRR, page 10). According to Lynn Featherstone, director of the ITC, who sent out the survey, the results of the questionnaire will not be disclosed, but will be "consolidated with the responses of other firms and will form much of the statistical base for the Commission's determination." The 26-page questionnaire was due back to the ITC on December 7, less than a month after its distribution date of November 6.
The questionnaire contains a variety of questions, including general questions about the ownership of each company and more specific questions about purchasing practices. For example, the survey contains a chart in which participants are to list how many ARG and OEM windshields they have purchased annually from 1998 to 2001 (through September) and from what manufacturers, divided into three categories—the United States, China and "Other."

According to George Dayman of the ITC, approximately 100 surveys were sent out. About 12 were sent to all the known producers of windshields in the United States, 40 to 50 were sent to major and medium-sized importers of the product and around 40 to purchasers of the product.

Dayman said the ITC had received few complaints about the length of the survey and expected most of them to be returned in a cooperative 

"We had a few calls from people who wanted extensions, but we expect a lot to come in," Dayman said.

One industry executive, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he called Gail Burns, the contact listed on the survey from the ITC, and was told the survey was mandatory.

"She also said if certain questions appear[ed] to be unreasonable, then a formal complaint or request for release could be filed, but they were rarely accepted or allowed," he said. "She also said that if certain questions were impossible to answer in the amount of time allocated, extensions might be granted and that we could talk to the economist who put the questionnaire together, and perhaps alter the nature of the response to accommodate our abilities to complete the questionnaire. I think the bottom line here is that they expect us to complete this thing on time and in its entirety."

Diamond-Triumph Sees Positive Third Quarter
Diamond-Triumph Auto Glass of Kingston, Pa., has reported its 2001 third-quarter results. The company achieved net sales for the nine months ending September 30, 2001, of $158.2 million, an 11.1-percent jump over last year's results for the same quarter, during which it saw $142.4 million in net sales. Net sales for the third quarter increased $3.7 million, or 7.6 percent, to $52.3 million, as compared to $48.6 million for the third quarter of 2000. EBITDA for the first nine months of 2001 increased by $3.8 million or 21.6 percent, to $21.4 million from $17.6 million for the first nine months of 2000. EBITDA for the third quarter of 2001 increased by $0.3 million or 5.6 percent, to $5.7 million from $5.4 million for the third quarter of 2000.

Apogee Fares Well in Earnings; Goldfus Plans to Sell Shares

Minneapolis-based Apogee Enterprises, the parent company of Harmon Auto Glass, has reported that its 2001 second-quarter earnings more than doubled from last year's results from the same time period. The company saw earnings of $10.3 million or 36 cents per share in this time period, compared with $4.2 million or 15 cents per share last year. Second-quarter net sales totaled $210 million, compared with $236 million a year before.

In other news at Apogee, its retired chairperson Donald W. Goldfus recently announced that he intended to sell up to 150,000 shares of his company's stock. The disclosure was made in accordance with SEC Rule 10b5-1 sale rules.

Goldfus, 67, has said the sale is part of his estate planning. He currently holds 707,231 shares (approximately 2.5 percent of the company), including the 120,000 shares his wife holds. Goldfus says he plans to sell approximately 20 percent of his holdings.



Auto Glass Specialists Holds Coloring Contest Among Company Children; Donates $1500 to Charities of Children's Choices

Madison, Wis.-based Auto Glass Specialists recently held a holiday coloring card contest for the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of its employees and owners. Entrants had to be under the age of 12 and had to incorporate the company's signature "little red truck" into the design. Twenty-five children entered the contest and each of the top five winners had a $300 donation made in their name to a children's charity of their choice and received a $50 gift certificate to Toys 'R' Us. The top five winners were: Nicole Usbina, 11, daughter of Jodi Benites of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Megan Schroeder, 10, granddaughter of Betty Schroeder of Green Bay, Wis., niece of Jim Schroeder of Green Bay and niece of Mike Schroeder of Appleton, Wis.; Brendan Updike, 5, son of Bruce Updike of Madison; Taylor Ann Costello, 8, daughter of Paul Costello of Gaylord, Mich.; and Tyler Mintzlaff, 10, nephew of Teresa Lynch of  Madison.

Megan Schroeder, 8, had her prize                         Tyler Mintzlaff, 10, had his prize donation     Taylor Ann Costello, 8, had her donation made to St. Jude Children’s                    made to Big Brothers/Big Sisters.                     prize donation made to the Ronald      
Hospital.                                                                                                                                         McDonald House.

Donations went to DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Echo Food Pantry in Janesville, Wis., Ronald McDonald House and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Dane County, Wis.

Belron Acquires Four New European Franchises
Belron International, the Europe-based parent company of AUTOGLASS®, has secured four new franchises in Greece, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia to add to its existing European presence, which includes France, Germany and Spain. AUTOGLASS repair and replacement service is now available in 16 European countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.

"This is an exciting move that will help AUTOGLASS extend its commitment to providing the highest levels of service for our customer," said Ian Carlisle, managing director of AUTOGLASS. "Our global expertise, coupled with the local knowledge of each country, means that motorists are receiving the same excellent AUTOGLASS service wherever they may be traveling across the United Kingdom, Europe or the world."


Customized SUV Sales Soar in Aftermath of Attacks

The sale of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) equipped with bullet- and bomb-resistant glass has surged since September 11, according to an article in the November 7 issue of the Wall Street Journal. One company benefiting from the surge is Big Toys Coach Works Inc. of Corona, Calif., which customizes limousines, SUVs and other vehicles to serve as blast-resistant offices on wheels.

The company usually receives two or three orders a month for customized SUVs, but since September 11, its SUV orders are up to 50—ten of which were armored. The vehicles are particularly popular on the East Coast and in New York. Prices run nearly $200,000 per vehicle, with the Ford Excursion set at $95,000 without bullet-resistance and $175,000 with bullet-resistance.

Safelite Donates $14,000 to “Save the Children” Fund

Columbus, Ohio-based Safelite Auto Glass has raised a total of $14,000 for the “Save The Children” Fund for U.S. Children in Crisis through its "Install for America" program. The company donated $1 from every auto glass replacement and repair done for four consecutive Saturdays from October 20 through November 10—a total of approximately 2,000 windshields per Saturday.

NAGS Revises License Fees
San Diego-based National Auto Glass Specifications International (NAGS) has revised its pricing policies in an effort to provide more fairness and consistency across the industry. Rather than basing its licensing fees on the number of locations or other factors, NAGS is beginning to base its license fees on more solid, quantifiable factors, such as how many pieces of glass a shop buys in any given time period. Similarly, these fees will be based on how many end-users of the data a shop may have. (For more info, see "NAGS Notes.")

Catherine Howard, vice president/general manager of NAGS, noted that the licensing fees will have different effects on different businesses, depending on how they are set up. Some shops' fees may decrease while others may rise, according to Howard.

Asahi Invests in Recycling Facility
Tokyo-based Asahi Glass Co. (AGC), the parent company of Florence, Ky.-based AP Technoglass, is participating in an auto glass recycling test initiative that will begin in March and continue through 2004. Initially, Asahi will spend a total of 400 (approximately $3.2 U.S. dollars) to 600 million yen (approximately $4.8 million U.S. dollars) to build windshield recycling facilities capable of processing 300 to 400 tons a month at its Aichi Prefecture plant in Japan.

According to AP Technoglass president Jay Strong, the recycling program is part of a number of programs the company is developing to help the environment.

"We've been pursing answers to environmental issues all over the world. For example, every year AGC's foundation presents two Blue Planet awards to outstanding individuals or organizations for their efforts in resolving worldwide environmental problems," Strong said. "The Blue Planet is the world's largest award of its kind; 50 million yen (approximately $415,000 U.S. dollars) is presented to each recipient. We work diligently to make our products and manufacturing processes more environmentally friendly."

In other news at AP Technoglass, the company has recently contracted Advanced Integrated Technologies Group (AIT Group) of Avon, Conn., to provide integrated consulting support to the company's "Total Solutions" integrated automotive glazing systems program. 

ABRA Raises $89,000 for Courage Center
Minneapolis-based ABRA Auto Body & Glass says it has raised $89,000 for a local rehabilitation center in its recent annual golf marathon. More than forty golfers participated in the event, with each one collecting pledges for playing at least 100 holes of golf that day. The money will go to the Courage Center, a rehabilitation and resource center for people with physical disabilities, brain injuries, speech or vision impairments or hearing loss.

This is the seventh year ABRA has held this golf marathon.

In the September/October 2001 issue of AGRR, on page 47, the NAGS number listed for the 2001 Toyota Camry was incorrect. The NAGS number should have read FW2018 and the NAGS list price is $574.45. However, the prices and percentages listed in the chart were based on the correct list price.

Also, on page 16, the relationship between Performance Achievement Group and AEGIS Tools International LLC of Madison, Wis., was identified incorrectly. The companies are sister companies.

AGRR regrets the errors.



Scientists Surmise Glass Could Have Sunk Hunley
More than 100 years ago, the H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine, rammed explosives into a Union blockade ship, the Housatonic, becoming the first submarine to sink an enemy warship shortly before sinking itself. Recent excavations have brought out a new theory as to why the submarine may have sunk. Experts now surmise that the glass in the front conning tower of the submarine shattered during the battle, allowing water to flood in.

During the final days of the 1995 excavation, scientists found two pieces of thin glass tube encrusted to the submarine's hull near the post of the submarine's commander. The glass is thought to be the remains of the submarine's depth gauge. "It will be important to learn how the damage occurred to the depth gauge. Was it broken after the sinking or before?,” said South Carolina Sen. Glenn McConnell, chairman of the state's Hunley commission.

However, Maria Jacobsen, senior conservator for the Hunley project, said she did not know when further information about this glass would be available. "At this point, we have found objects of glass in the interior of the submarine, and the sub itself is fitted with glass deadlights and view ports.  We have not yet studied and analyzed any of these findings, so detailed information on these features will not be available for some time," Jacobsen said.



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