Saint-Gobain's glass is half empty and half full

B. Santhanam has his pulse on two key sectors of the economy – automobiles and construction. While the slowdown in the former does worry him, he is more than happy at the developments in the latter.   Photo:B.

Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain

The company he heads – Saint-Gobain Glass India – has a growing share in supplying windshields to the automobile industry. And, in the construction industry, the Indian subsidiary of the French multinational is the leading supplier of glass that is now extensively being used in buildings.

Santhanam, 56, Managing Director, says the slowdown in the automotive sector means that suppliers like Saint-Gobain, which had created the capacities and worked out costs based on schedules provided by vehicle manufacturers, will take longer to recover those investments.

“We commit to a huge amount of engineering, tooling and upfront costs. All of us amortise that over the assumed life of that car. When that changes, then the whole equation changes,” he says.

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