French glassmaker Saint Gobain today opened its third float glass manufacturing plant at the World Glass Complex, Sriperumbudur, Chennai. The plant was built at a cost of Rs 1200 crore and will cater to both domestic and international markets. With this, the company's cumulative investment in the Glass Complex?at Sriperumbudur has crossed Rs 3,000 crore, the single largest investment destination of Saint Gobain globally. Since its entry into India in 1996, the company has invested about Rs 7,500 crore.
In 2018, the company had reported a net sales of over Rs 7000 crore. "India is one of the fastest growing markets for Saint Gobian and is a very profitable market. Indian sales account for close to 2 per cent of our global sales," said Pierre-Andre de Chalendar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Saint Gobain group to Business Today. "However we have very low penetration in India since glass penetration in the country is low -- 1.65 kg per head compared to China which is 30 kg per head."
The company is planning to triple its sales revenue in next 10 years. "In last few years, the Indian market has been self funding itself as investments made here are funded from the profit we make here. The brand recall of Saint-Gobain in India is as good as it is in France. Indeed, we are as much an Indian company as we are French," Chalender said adding that the primary investment in India is for the local market and vast majority of the products the company manufactures will be sold here . On an average, 15 per cent of overall products are being exported.
The company that started Indian operations in 1996 had recorded an average growth rate of about 19 per cent YoY till few years back. "Currently we are having a growth average of 10 per cent. The new facility adds around 400 new jobs, which takes the employee strength of the company to 6500," said B Santhanam, managing director, Saint-Gobain India. "The third float glass plant will be the largest in India in terms of capacity and will manufacture a wide range of complex products that cater to the needs of sustainable habitats and affordable luxury," Santhanam?added. The plant, according to the company, is also highly energy efficient and generates 1.2 MW of power from waste heat of the furnace and 3.5 MW from rooftop solar facility. "This will meet more than 80 per cent of energy for the plant," said Santhanam.
The company also opened its second advanced magnetoron coater facility and glass solutions' lines. With this, the world glass complex will have a capacity to manufacture 140 million square ft of high performance energy efficient glass catering to businesses across Africa, Middle-East and ASEAN region.The company also had signed an MoU worth Rs 720 crore with Tamil Nadu government in the recently concluded global investors meet.