Saint-Gobain looking at India for growth

Saint-Gobain, a Paris based global glass gaint, has accorded India as top priority zone in all its business ventures in Asia over the next five years, Jean Louis Beffa, chairman and chief executive officer has said.

Speaking at a press conference on the occasion of inauguration of the Rs 800 crore second float glass plant at Sriperumbudur near here recently, he said the company also proposed to make the facility a centre of excellence at least for the company's Asian operations. 'The facility will be the first of its kind in Asia and Europe. It will enable meeting end-to-end glass solutions to the customers from both architectural and automotive segments', Beffa said.

The company is expecting to increase its global net sales to touch 40 billion Euros for this year from 35 billion Euros in 2005, Beefa said. On the Sriperumbudur complex, he said, it was designed so as to have the built in capability to add addition lines in a modular manner. Thus creating adequate options for further investments in value added and premium segments. He said the surplus from the two Sriperumbudur Glass complex would be reinvested in the growth of the business. Export was expected to rise from 22 per cent to 36 per cent.

Keeping in mind the quality of engineers and engineering in India, the company was prepared to invest in the abrasives sector for its world wide operations, Beffa said.

He said that during his visit to India he had noticed that there was clearly a new stream of growth especially in the IT sector which would increase the demand for glass solutions. With the growing affluence, there was a higher demand for high quality glass, Beffa said and added that he was also impressed with the growing number of qualified people in the country, the dynamism and concern for environment.

B Santhanam, managing director, Saint-Gobain Glass India Limited said that 50 per cent of the production from the second float line would be exported mainly to South Korea, Australia, Newzeland and Middle-East countries. And added that export would be based on the domestic needs.

600450 Saint-Gobain looking at India for growth
Date: 20 February 2006

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