Pilkington window to success for NSG

Nippon Sheet Glass Co. (NSG), the world's sixth-largest glass maker, will move alongside front-runner Asahi Glass Co., in terms of sales, after the 616 billion yen acquisition of third-ranked British glass maker Pilkington PLC, by the end of June.

The acquisition of Pilkington will increase NSG's annual sales to about 760 billion yen, or 14 percent of the world share, rivaling Asahi Glass.

Saint-Gobain of France will drop to third in the world, followed by Guardian Industries Corp. and PPG of the United States, Vitro of Mexico and Central Glass Co. of Japan.

NSG President Katsuji Fujimoto, 62, said his company could pay back the 140 billion yen it had borrowed for the acquisition in several years.

He also said NSG would boost its glass business to turn around the company's electronic information business, such as next-generation flat displays.

With domestic demand for glass products for buildings and automobiles sluggish, the market will inevitably shrink in the future, but worldwide demand, including that in developing countries, will continue to grow, according to Fujimoto.

"NSG's four main production bases are in Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia, but Pilkington has 27 production bases in 16 countries, including those in the United States and China. We've wanted to acquire Pilkington since taking a 20 percent stake in the company in 2001," Fujimoto said.

NSG paid about 616 billion yen, or more than 30 billion yen more than the initially proposed price, for the acquisition, but Fujimoto believes the price was appropriate despite the fact that it was about 30 percent higher than the actual price of the British company's stock.

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