Guardian plant for Russia, say authorities

Guardian Industries is reportedly planning to build a USD 170 million float glass plant in Ryazan (180 km south-east of Moscow) by 2008. Ryazan authorities said that in 2006 Guardian Industries may st…

Guardian Industries is reportedly planning to build a USD 170 million float glass plant in Ryazan (180 km south-east of Moscow) by 2008. Ryazan authorities said that in 2006 Guardian Industries may start construction of a plant with a capacity of about 250,000 tons of float glass a year. Guardian plans to invest USD 170 million in the project. The firm is also to relocate its office from Moscow to Ryazan. Guardians intentions were reportedly confirmed by a source at the company. According to the Glass Institute, the volume of the Russian float glass market amounts to EUR 720 million or about 1.8 million tons a year and approximately one-third of this quantity is imported. Guardian follows the lead taken by Glaverbel and Pilkington: on 16 September 2005, Belgiums Glaverbel inaugurated a float plant with a capacity of 220,000 tons a year in Klin (Moscow Region), while in March 2004, Pilkington obtained a USD 42 million loan from the International Finance Corporation for Pilkington Glass LLC, a joint venture with Emerging Markets Partnership to build a 243,000 tons-per-year float plant in the Moscow region. Russian companies have also announced plans for facilities: in June 2005, Northwestern Glass Company announced the construction of a new plant with a capacity of about 165,000 tons a year near St. Petersburg, while in early September, the Russian Soda Company announced a similar project with a capacity of 220,000 tons a year in St. Petersburg. Alexander Chesnokov of the Glass Institute said that so far there has been no oversupply. According to Chesnokov, demand for float glass is growing by 10-15% a year, and the market will need a new production line every two years. Even taking into account the Glaverbel and Pilkington plants, Guardian will have a market, he said. Chesnokov also highlighted the beneficial geographic location of the future plant: Northwestern Glass Company and Russian Soda Company will be oriented towards the north-western market, while Glaverbel and Pilkington will be oriented to the Moscow region. Guardian will be able to supply Moscow and south-eastern regions.