Volume 42, Issue 5 - May 2007

Global Update

Research and Markets Analyzes China Glass Industry in New Report
If you want to find out more about a country whose national output of flat glass increased by 17 percent from 2004 to 2005, check out China Glass Industry Report, 2006 from Research and Markets in Dublin, Ireland. The book is geared for manufacturers who are prepared to enter China’s glass market, import and export companies and investors. Instead of the study and discussion of technologies, this report examines investment opportunities and development trends through analysis of production, product structure, import and export and operations of domestic key glass enterprises. 

The report provides an analysis of China’s glass industry; the market structure and profit of the China glass industry; segmented markets, including architectural glass; key enterprises and listed companies, including Luoyang Float Glass Group Co. Ltd., Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. Ltd and Yaohua Pilkington Glass Co. Ltd; and investment opportunities and risks.

China’s growth is staggering. The country generated 365.7 million weight cases in 2005. Its sales revenue reached RMB (Chinese yuan) 30.2 (USD 3.9) billion with a year-on-year increase of 12.64 percent. On the flip side, costs rose by 28.23 percent, far higher than the income growth. The gross profit achieved RMB 879 (USD 113) million, decreased by 68.22 percent than 2004. 

China imported 26.389 million square meters of flat glass in 2005 with import value up to USD $334.7849 million at average cost of USD $12.69 per square meter. Compared to 2004, imports amount decreased by 37.40 percent, import value increased by 68.37 percent and average import price rose by USD $2.97 per square meter. China exported flat glass of 185.394 million square meters in 2005 with export value reaching USD $454.7432 million dollars at average cost of USD $2.45 per square meter. Compared to 2004, export amounts increased by 38.45 percent, import values grew by 38.54 percent and average export prices remained the same. www.researchandmarkets.com

Study Says China and UK Hire Most U.S. Architects
If an American architect wants to do work outside of the United States, China and the United Kingdom (UK) would be their two most likely destinations. China accounts for 21 percent of U.S. architectural firms’ international business and the UK followed with 16 percent, according to a survey conducted by PPG Industries. 

In the online study, 629 U.S. architects were polled on the following topics: which countries are the largest international employers of U.S. architects, how they prefer to obtain product information and which glass companies they perceived as being the leaders in sustainability.

Respondents identified manufacturer websites as their preferred method of obtaining product information by an overwhelming 85 percent. Other preferred means mentioned were sales representatives and technical binders from manufacturers. www.ppg.com 

Lisec Wins Austrian Innovation Award 
On February 28, Lisec Maschinenbau GmbH in Seitenstetten, Austria, received the nationwide innovation-award of the Republic of Austria for its glass tempering technology. 

The Lisec flat-bed glass tempering furnace tempers glass sheets evenly up to only 2-mm thickness without optical distortion. The Lisec machine achieves an even texture with an unmatched density and surface tension of the glass. The safety glass has a high resistance momentum, so that it bends without breaking when exposed to high pressure or impact. 

None of the company’s tempering lines have yet to be installed in the United States, according to information from the company. www.lisecamerica.com 

Asahi Glass to Build World’s Largest Float Glass Furnace
Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. is building the world’s largest furnace, with a capacity of 1,102 tons/day in Russia. To meet the local growing demand for glass, the company will invest around EUR 135 (USD 181) million to establish the float glass furnace, which is the fourth one, the group constructed in Russia. Construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of this year, and its volume production will start in early 2009.

The objectives of this investment are to meet the expanding demand for high-quality float glass and the growing needs for high value-added products such as mirrors and “super-insulating” low-E glass.

In addition, the company aims to utilize the current production system, know-how and trained personnel, and speed up the construction of the new furnace and reduce costs, by building a furnace at Glaverbel Klin, which already has one float glass furnace. www.asg.co.jp 

Solutia Breaks Ground on Belgian Plant 
The Saflex® unit of Solutia Inc. in St. Louis broke ground in March for a new manufacturing line at its plant in Ghent, Belgium. The new Ghent manufacturing line will produce 3.2-meter-wide rolls of Saflex PVB interlayers. These specific interlayers are used primarily to make laminated glass for the growing European architectural market. 

“The third Saflex manufacturing line at Ghent is an important step forward in our strategy to optimize our production on a global scale,” says Dirk Duquet, vice president of manufacturing excellence for Saflex. “Along with our 2006 acquisition of the plant in Puebla, Mexico, and the new plant under construction in Suzhou, China, the expansion at Ghent will help us achieve the highest quality and lowest cost production for our customers in every world area.” 

The new manufacturing line is being constructed at the Saflex Ghent plant, and will employ the latest technology, for highly automated production. www.saflex.com 

Court Rules Guardian Must Collaborate with Indian Business
Foreign companies looking to set up business in India must now establish their business units in collaboration with Indian companies. The Delhi High Court established this precedence, when it ruled to prevent Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Guardian Industries Corp. from setting up a 100-percent subsidiary in India, according to an article from Indlaw Communications

The decision was a victory for Modi Rubber Ltd. (MRL), a part of the Modi Group in Delhi, India. The company challenged the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) order that would have allowed Guardian to set up a fully-owned subsidiary in India to manufacture, sell and export its float glass products, according to the article.

MRL and Guardian operate a float glass manufacturing joint venture, Gujarat Guardian Ltd. According to the article, MRL argued that Guardian could not set up a fully-owned subsidiary as their joint venture was profitable and healthy. Guardian responded, according to reports, that the new company would not hurt the interests of Gujarat Guardian Ltd., as Guardian held a 50 percent stake in the company.

Guardian representatives declined to comment, as the case is still in litigation. www.guardian.com 

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