Vitro, AFG glass plant set to start production in Mexico

Mexico's Vitro said Friday it will start producing glass next week at the Baja California facility it renovated with 50-50 joint-venture partner AFG Industries Inc. of the United States.

In a filing with the Mexican Stock Exchange, Vitro said that the float glass plant in the city of Mexicali will begin producing Tuesday for the construction industries in Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Renovation of the plant, which Vitro had used to produce glass containers, took 12 months and cost the partners US$50 million each.

The plant is expected to produce 500 metric tons (550 tons) of flat glass per day and employ 226 people.

Vitro and AFG, a unit of Japan's Asahi Glass Co. Ltd., created the joint venture in June 2001. The plant will produce several types of construction glass, including clear glass of varying thickness and mirrored glass.

"This strategic alliance between two leading companies will allow us to join forces and consolidate our strengths to offer better service to our clients in Mexico and the United States," said Federico Sada, Vitro's chief executive officer.

Vitro, which is based in Monterrey, expects the venture will reduce its transport and logistics costs, while reducing the time it takes to send glass to its U.S. subsidiary and customers in northwestern Mexico.

Asahi expects the partnership to help it meet growing demand for construction glass in the northwestern United States and Canada.

"The new Mexicali plant will complement our operation in Victorville, California with products of the utmost quality and highly competitive prices," said Luc Willame, head of Asahi Glass Co.'s flat glass division.

Asahi is the world's largest glass maker, while AFG, based in Kingsport, Tenn., is the biggest supplier of construction glass for the U.S. market. Vitro, Mexico's largest glass company, has co-investment projects with nine companies around the globe, giving it access to more than 70 countries.

600450 Vitro, AFG glass plant set to start production in Mexico

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