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Asahi Glass to import auto glass from Thai unit

21 January 1999: Asahi Glass Co. of Japan plans to import auto glass from its Thai subsidiary in order to supply to domestic carmakers, according to a recent press report.
The leading auto-glass make…

21 January 1999: Asahi Glass Co. of Japan plans to import auto glass from its Thai subsidiary in order to supply to domestic carmakers, according to a recent press report. The leading auto-glass maker hopes to sell imported glass for about 50,000 vehicles a year from the beginning of 1999. The move is designed to boost capacity utilization at Asahi“s Bangkok factory, which can produce glass for 500,000 vehicles annually but is operating at half capacity as demand for auto glass took a sharp downturn amid the Southeast Asian country“s economic crisis. Other than a few shipments from the US, intended primarily to alleviate bilateral trade tensions, the company, Japan“s top glass maker, is the first to import auto glass. While Thai Safety Glass Co., Asahi“s local subsidiary, has implemented personnel reductions and other cost-cutting measures, it has concluded it will not be able to improve the earnings picture without enhancing capacity utilization. Asahi“s Thai-made glass is now undergoing tests at domestic carmakers“ assembly lines, the report said. The company intends to continue importing the glass until demand begins to pick up again in Thailand. It may also export glass made in Indonesia, where demand is also extremely weak, to Australia and the Middle East. Asahi Glass, whose overseas output is an indicator of that of the domestic glass industry, plans to increase the effectiveness of its global network by integrating its production bases. The company, which produces auto glass for 5.5 million vehicles a year in Japan, says importing products from its overseas facilities has little influence on its domestic output.

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