Pilkington plans Indian subsidiary

Pilkington plc is planning to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in India, which would initially participate in the wholesale cash-and-carry float glass business, according to a report in The Hindu.
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Pilkington plc is planning to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in India, which would initially participate in the wholesale cash-and-carry float glass business, according to a report in The Hindu. The development has aroused interest among industry observers, as it could be the precursor to Pilkington starting manufacturing in India, where Saint Gobain and Asahi have already made sizeable investments. In its recent annual report, Pilkington identified India, China, Russia and West Asia as the top four priority areas for growth. The company, which had revenues of EUR 3.96 billion in financial year 2004/2005, has manufacturing operations in 24 countries and sales in over 130 countries. Pilkington“s entry would intensify competition in the Indian glass market, which also boasts substantial domestic players such as Modiguard. The domestic market for glass has been enjoying rapid growth: a recent study by a US magazine predicted that India and China would be the biggest motors for flat glass demand until about 2008. Per-capita glass consumption in India is only about 0.56 kg a year compared with 3.5 kg in China and 6 kg in Thailand. In addition, only 4% of the glass used by India“s construction industry is treated. Asahi India Glass is investing about INR 6 billion to set up an integrated glassmaking plant in Uttaranchal. The plant is expected to have a capacity of 700 metric tonnes per day and to be operational by the end of 2006. France“s Saint Gobain has invested about INR 7 billion for its second float glass plant and an automotive glass plant in Tamil Nadu. Demand is being pushed by the growth in construction activities (for office complexes and shopping malls) across the country. It is estimated that about 300 shopping malls are to be built over the next five years.