Companies

Saint-Gobain to further invest Rs 1,000 cr in Tamil Nadu

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 13, 2016
B. Santhanam, President and MD-Flat Glass ( South Asia, Malaysia and Egypt), Saint- Gobain Pvt Ltd, at a press conference, in Chennai. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh

B. Santhanam, President and MD-Flat Glass ( South Asia, Malaysia and Egypt), Saint- Gobain Pvt Ltd, at a press conference, in Chennai. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh   -  Business Line

Currently at the World Glass Complex, Sriperumbudur, the company has two float glass plants with total capacity of 1,500 tonnes.

Saint-Gobain India is investing ₹ 1,000 crore to expand its float glass and value added glass production capacity at its factory near Chennai.

The fully integrated factory at Sriperumbudur, about 35 km west of Chennai, will get a third float glass line of 1,000 tonnes a day and a second magnetron coater line with a capacity of 84 million sq ft per year for making high performance, energy efficient glass. This will make it the largest float glass plant in India.

Announcing the investment, B Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain India, said work on the expansion which is funded entirely through internal accruals has started with orders placed for the Magnetron coater equipment from Germany.

The new capacities in coated line will go on stream in 2017 and the float glass line in 2018. The 177-acre Chennai factory is unique as it is a fully integrated plant making value added glass products, including advanced laminated glass such as bullet proof glass, starting from basic raw material sand.

Referred to as a World Glass Complex, the subsidiary of the Euro 40 billion French multinational Saint-Gobain, is a regional manufacturing hub catering to the domestic market and to West Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the ASEAN region.

It now has two float glass lines with a total capacity of 1,500 tonnes a day; mirror and lacquer line of 50 million sq ft; and a magnetron coater of 60 million sq ft for the construction industry. It also makes 1.2 million sets of automotive glass annually.

The additional investments, which are part of an agreement the company entered into with the Tamil Nadu Government at the Global Investors Meet last year, take Saint-Gobain’s cumulative investment at this location to over ₹ 3,000 crore. It started with a ₹ 500-crore investment in 2000 when it set up the first float glass line as a Greenfield project.

Refractory Products

Saint-Gobain has also commissioned a refractory products factory, one of the largest capacities of its kind, at Perundurai SEZ in Erode District. This will mostly cater to the export market.

The company has two more float glass lines - one each at Jhagadia in Gujarat and at Bhiwadi in Rajasthan.

To mine Neyveli for key input — sand

Sand from the Neyveli lignite mines could soon go into making high-value glass, if a concept by Saint-Gobain India is commercialised.

Sand constitutes more than 70 per cent of the raw material for glass along with other chemicals such as soda ash, limestone and dolomite, in smaller quantities. But glass-grade sand is of a particular quality, and the company has had to ship it in from Egypt.

The French glass manufacturer has a process through which sand from lignite mines in Neyveli can be used to make glass and products for the ceramic industry, says B Santhanam, MD, Saint-Gobain India.

Pilot project

It hopes to launch a pilot project with the public sector Neyveli Lignite Corporation to get the sand from the millions of tonnes of soil excavated by NLC to reach the lignite deposits.

Just about half a million tonnes of such sand could entirely meet Saint-Gobain’s raw material requirement every year.

Getting raw material within 200 km of its Chennai factory presents obvious advantages in terms of cost and efficiencies for Saint-Gobain.

The factory uses about 800 tonnes of sand daily and this could go up to 1,400 tonnes with a ₹1,000-crore expansion plan announced on Wednesday.

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Published on January 13, 2016
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