CHENNAI, 4th June 2011

Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd (SGGI), a 100 per cent subsidiary of France-headquartered float glass manufacturer, Saint-Gobain, has decided to invest nearly Rs.1,200 crore in various projects over two years. The company is setting up a unit with a capacity of three lakh tonnes annually in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, with an investment of nearly Rs.1,000 crore in a phased manner. It would be investing Rs.800 crore in the first phase this year.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, B. Santhanam, Managing Director, said the unit would become operational by early 2012. It was also planning to invest an additional Rs.100 crore in Sezal Glass, the newly acquired float glass business in Gujarat. "The acquisition will be done through the FDI (foreign direct investment) route. Around $140 million will be required as equity," he said.

The company would was invest Rs.100 crore in and around the existing Sriperumbudur facility located near Chennai to manufacture float glass for the architecture and automotive industry.

With the three facilities, "We will be able to cut costs on logistics. There is a huge opportunity for us to leverage on that," he said. According to him, the Indian glass industry was growing at 10 per cent year-on-year while Saint Gobain grew by 23 per cent last year.

SGGI was currently scouting for land in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh for setting up its first solar glass complex. The cost of the project is estimated at Rs.500 crore.

He said the company was already having a reserve land of 50 acres at its Sriperumbudur facility. But he said this would be needed for its future projects like float glasses for automotives.

Mr. Santhanam said the company wanted nearly 60 acres that would help them manufacture all the three base products and also wanted the facility to become 50 per cent export-oriented.