FT: Guardian to expand Latin American operations

Guardian Industries Corp. has announced that it will build a second float glass manufacturing facility in Brazil.

Executives of Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Guardian joined Parana Governor Jaime Lerner and Balsa Nova Mayor Osvaldo Costa at the Government Palace in Curitiba today to reveal plans for the new 120 million dollar facility to be located in Balsa Nova, in the state of Parana.Governor Lerner made today's announcement and was joined by Mayor Costa, Ralph J.Gerson, president and CEO of Guardian International and Mark LaCasse, managing director of Guardian Latin America.

"This second major investment in Brazil, along with our current facilities, including our plants in the state of Rio de Janiero and in Venezuela, and our distribution units in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, demonstrate our strong commitment to the growing and increasingly attractive markets for flat glass products in Latin America," said Gerson.

Construction is scheduled to begin early next year with production anticipated to commence in June 2003. The plant is expected to employ some 200 people and indirectly create nearly one thousand jobs.

Gerson said the company selected Balsa Nova because of its central location, excellent work force, close proximity to the furniture industry and for ease in exporting goods throughout the Mercosul region.

"Guardian Industries has established a record of growth, profitability and success in South America. We've done this by responding to both customer and community needs," said Russ Ebeid, president of Guardian's Glass Group. "Guardian's goal in Brazil is to manufacture a full line of glass products and in turn support that country's efforts to reduce imports and increase exports."

The future plant will be Guardian's 22nd float glass manufacturing facility and follows closely on the company's recent cornerstone laying ceremony for its 21st plant in Czestochowa, Poland.

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