Saint Gobain Controls Freeglass; Schefenacker Changing Name

Last month the German operations of Saint-Gobain Sekurit (Paris, France), one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive glass, acquired partner Schefenacker German HoldCo GmbH’s stake in the two firms’ freeglass joint venture. freeglass (Schwaikheim, Germany), formed in 2001 between Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland and Schefenacker GmbH.

It is among the first processors to commercially market polycarbonate (PC) window glazing, and its injection molded PC windows have seen use in, for instance, Mercedes-Benz B-class vehicles and Smart fortwo city cars. Terms of the purchase were not revealed. According to Sekurit, freeglass has 130 employees and generates sales of about 27 million euros.

The deal comes as events at Schefenacker continue to unfold. Schefenacker German HoldCo GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of automotive exterior mirrors manufacturer Schefenacker plc, which on Dec. 11 will change its name to Visiocorp plc. Earlier this year, to escape insolvency, Schefenacker split its business into lighting and automotive mirrors, with the mirrors business moved to England to take advantage of that country’s insolvency laws. Corporate headquarters for the mirrors business is now in Portchester, England.

Injection molded PC window glazing remains an application on the verge of giant future business. In late August, Sabic Innovative Plastics (the former GE Plastics; Pittsfield, MA) bought out joint-venture partner Bayer’s share in the firms’ PC glazing joint venture, Exatec.

Meanwhile, local German papers report that the Schefenacker’s lighting business in Schwaikheim, which is separate from the automotive exteriors business, is being restructured, with up to 500 employees—many of them part-timers—expected to lose their jobs

By Matt Defosse

600450 Saint Gobain Controls Freeglass; Schefenacker Changing Name glassonweb.com

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