Volume 13, Issue 5 - September/October 2011

Around the World
International Issues

Belron Reports 5 Percent Worldwide Decrease in Jobs for First Quarter
Belron experienced a 5 percent drop worldwide in repair and replacement jobs for the first quarter from the same period in 2010, according to parent company D’Ieteren’s first-quarter financial report. The company completed a total of 2.9 million jobs total throughout the world for the quarter.

The percentage of total jobs that were windshield repair jobs was down for the quarter as well, though specific numbers are not provided in the latest report.

Overall, Belron officials report a worldwide increase in sales of 3 percent for the first quarter, when compared with 2010, but attribute the increase to acquisitions (1 percent) and a favorable currency impact due to the stronger U.S. dollar (2 percent).
However, company officials say compared to last year, sales were comparatively flat, “reflecting mild weather compared to the exceptional 2010 conditions predominantly in Northern Europe.”

In Europe, Belron experienced sales growth of 2 percent—1 percent from acquisitions and 1 percent from a positive currency impact of the stronger GB pound. Outside Europe, the company saw sales growth of 5 percent—1 percent of which was acquired growth, and 4 percent from currency translation.

“Despite a more favorable winter in Canada, like-for-like sales were flat, reflecting lower marketing activity in the United States and continued difficult marketing conditions in Brazil,” writes D’Ieteren.

D’Ieteren projects moderate organic sales growth for Belron for the rest of the year.

Pilkington Parent NSG Reports Strong Demand Across World for Auto Glass
Pilkington parent company NSG Group appears optimistic with regard to the worldwide auto glass market in its annual report for fiscal year 2011.

“In the automotive business, the cumulative result was significantly ahead of the previous year, due principally to strong demand across all of the Group’s main automotive markets,” writes the Japan-based company.

NSG officials say overall original-equipment (OE) volumes were significantly higher in most regions, compared with the previous year, and that the auto glass replacement market is gradually improving throughout the world.

The company reports that its North American OE revenues “were significantly above the previous year.” NSG attributes the growth to increased volumes, along with cost savings and efficiency gains,” and also reports profitability for the auto glass replacement market in the North American region. North America comprised 21 percent of the company’s automotive sales for the fiscal year.

In Europe, which makes up 47 percent of the company’s automotive market, NSG officials say they again saw growth in the OE sector, and that “local currency revenues increased strongly from last year’s levels, due to robust volumes, with a consequent improvement in profits.” In the auto glass replacement business, NSG officials say local currency results were similar to the levels of the previous year.

In Japan, representing 17 percent of NSG’s automotive sales, revenues were slightly above the previous year. However, the company reports that improved demand in the first two quarters was offset by reductions in volumes when the Japanese government ended its incentive program for purchasing environmentally friendly vehicles, followed by the March 11 earthquake.

The auto glass business makes up approximately 46 percent of NSG.

Saint-Gobain to Invest in China Plant
Saint-Gobain Sekurit has announced the construction of its second auto glass plant in China. The plant will be built in the Shandong province of Qingdao, close to the Group’s float glass production site.

According to a company statement, Saint-Gobain Sekurit plans to invest approximately $74 million (U.S. dollars) in the plant in three phases between now and 2014. The first manufacturing line will be opened mid-2012, and, as the market grows, the company plans to gradually increase the plant’s production capacity.


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