Saint-Gobain aims at 9% growth in Brazil

Saint-Gobain sees 9% growth in revenues in Brazil in 2006 compared to the previous year, according to Jean-Pierre Floris, general director of the French firm“s Brazil-Argentina delegation. “We expect…

Saint-Gobain sees 9% growth in revenues in Brazil in 2006 compared to the previous year, according to Jean-Pierre Floris, general director of the French firm“s Brazil-Argentina delegation. “We expect to increase our market share by launching products and manufacturing more sophisticated items”, he said. In Brazil since 1937, Saint-Gobain has 46 plants and markets products under the building material brands Telhanorte, Santa Marina, Brasilit, Quartzolit, Norton, Sekurit, Vetrotex, Isover, Carborundum and Placo, amongst others. As a manufacturer of flat glass, fiberglass, insulation, packaging, pipes, building materials, industrial ceramics and abrasives, the company sold BRL 5.2 billion (USD 2.13 billion) in Brazil in 2005 compared to BRL 4.8 billion (USD 1.64 billion) in 2004. Mr. Floris said that glass sales to the automotive and civil construction markets should rise in 2006. He explained that the greater use of flat glass in construction has increased the growth potential of the product in Brazil. Saint-Gobain will invest EUR 100 million in South America in 2006, of which 90% will be directed to Brazil. The company also has industrial units in Argentina and in Chile. The funds will be used in the modernization of plant, technological upgrades and furnace renewal to increase flat glass output capacity. The furnace investment will increase production sold under the Sekurit brand for the automotive sector, and will also boost applications for the material in building, including double glazing for acoustic control, a product that doubles the consumption of glass. “The variety of the supply is enormous because the sophistication of the glass has been increasing each year, due, for example, to the production of thermal control glass. There is a wide potential for innovation”, said Mr. Floris. He did not say by what percentage production capacity would increase. Mr. Floris said that Saint-Gobain is planning to build an R&D center for new products in the country. “The cost of a R&D center in Brazil is slightly more expensive than in China or India, but it is still cheaper than building it in Europe or the United States”, he said.