July 3, 2018 / 1:05 PM / 2 months ago

Turkish glassmaker Sisecam has Indian autos in its sights

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s top glass maker Sisecam plans to invest more in India, where it is considering producing windscreens for the country’s booming auto industry, its general manager said.

“We plan to rapidly increase our capabilities regarding product variation, opening new (glass) furnaces ... We will be more efficient by expanding our product range,” Ahmet Kirman told Reuters in an interview in Istanbul on Monday.

“A new factory for automobile glass production is necessary. We will be making an assessment on that as well,” Kirman said.

He declined to provide an amount for the planned investments.

India is making more cars than ever as its economy develops and domestic passenger vehicle sales rose by 20 percent in May from the year-ago period, data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers shows.

Sisecam, the third largest producer of glassware in the world and fifth largest in glass packaging and flat glass, made 4.8 million tonnes of glass in 2017 at 43 sites in 13 countries.

The Istanbul-based company, which competes with NSG Pilkington, Asahi Glass Co, Saint Gobain and Guardian Glass in float glass production, has grown in India through acquisitions in recent months.

Its Trakya Cam subsidiary produces float glass, which and mirrors at a 600 ton per day capacity plant in India and last month it bought 49.8 percent of India’s HNG Float Glass, where it was a 50 percent shareholder, for $85.4 million.

Sisecam also expanded in Europe and became Italy’s second largest producer of float glass when it bought a factory from Italy’s Sangalli for 15.7 million euro ($18.32 million).

Kirman said the company was also looking at opportunities in Mexico but U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent protectionist measures had clouded the outlook. “We have very interesting offers (in Mexico)...But we will see where we could grow smartly and take action accordingly,” he said.

In March, Trump decided to impose import duties on steel and aluminum, drawing criticism from other countries for heightening the risk of a global trade war. The U.S. tariffs have been imposed on Europe, Canada and Mexico since June 1, after their temporary exemptions expired.

Kirman said Sisecam was also looking to invest in start-ups in Turkey and abroad to diversify from its core business.

Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Humeyra Pamuk and Alexander Smith

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