Volume 36, Number 2, February 2001

GlobalUpdate

Vitro Repurchases Shares; Launches Corporate Restructuring

TRAN0676
Vitro S.A. de C.V., based in Garza Garcia, N.L. Mexico, repurchased a total of 8,800,000 shares of its own stock in October 2000 at an average price of 8.40 pesos per share. The purchase represents approximately 2.95 percent of the ordinary shares of the company. According to a Vitro press release, the purchased shares are held as treasury stock.
The company says the decision to buy back the shares was made by Vitro administration after analyzing current market conditions. The press release also stated that Vitro chose to put the shares in treasury stock in order to give the company enough flexibility to determine for what the shares would ultimately be used.

In other news, Vitro has also launched a corporate restructuring process is aimed at boosting profitability, which to Tomas de la Rosa, a columnist for El Economista. Reportedly, Vitro has merged eight glass-making subsidiaries to form a single company and, as a result, will avoid double taxation and reduce costs. De la Rosa also reported the new company is comprised of Vidriere Guadalajara, Vidriere Mexicali, Vidriere Mexico, Vidriere Monterrey, Vidriere Queretaro, Vidriere Los Reyes and Vidriere Toluca, and each worked independently with its own management team.
An estimate of the savings Vitro expects to generate from managing eight operations as a single unit has not yet been reported.

Ingersoll-Rand Partners with CISA
Ingersoll-Rand (IR) of Indianapolis has formed a partnership with CISA, a door-hardware company, based in Faenza, Italy. Through the partnership, the companies hope to co-market each other’s security products and to expand their presence in international markets.

“This agreement will help IR expand its reach beyond its traditional markets in North America and the United Kingdom,” said Randy Smith, president of IR’s security and safety sector.

“This agreement will help IR expand its reach beyond traditional markets in North America and the United Kingdom. CISA has an excellent sales presence in the Mediterranean and has quality products that we can offer our North American customers. Our markets, products and manufacturing operations complement each other very well.”

Applied Films Acquires Division of Unaxis Holdings
Longmont, Colo.-based Applied Films Corp. has completed the acquisition of the large area coatings (LAC) division of Unaxis Holding Ltd. of Alzenau, Germany. Purchase price for the division was $60 million in cash and 673,353 shares of Applied Films common stock, subject to certain post-closing adjustments. The LAC division handles thin film deposition equipment in four markets: flat panel display, PET bottles, web coaters and architectural glass coaters. “The LAC acquisition strengthens our ability to address the entire flat panel display market with thin film coating solutions,” said Thomas Edman, Applied Films Corp. chief executive officer. “It also brings us tremendous opportunities in web coater, barrier coating and glass coating equipment markets.”

Hankuk Glass Forms Separate SPD Film Company
Research Frontiers Inc., developer and licensor of suspended particle devise (SPD) light-control technology, and its licensee, Korea’s largest glass manufacturer, Hankuk Glass Industries Inc., have announced the formation of a Hankuk subsidiary. The new company will be called SPD Inc. and will be devoted to the mass production of SPD light control film along with a variety of end products using SPD film.
The majority of SPD Inc. will be owned by Hankuk, and a group of outside investors will contribute approximately $8 billion Korean won Since the recent merger of Elf Aquitaine and TotalFina into TotalFinaElf, based in Paris, two of its subsidiaries, Ato Findley Inc. of Wauwatosa, Wis., and Bostik Inc. of Middleton, Mass., currently are working to integrate as well.

Laurence Danon will serve as president and chief executive officer of the newly-merged company, Bostik Findley. The company has 4,500 employees across America, Europe, Australia and Asia, and production facilities and sales operations in 36 countries. In addition, Bostik Findley expects to earn approximately $1 billion in revenues within the current year for its adhesives and sealants business.

Michael Klonne will lead the new company’s North American efforts under the name Bostik Findley Americas. Four business divisions will serve under Klonne: construction and distribution, industrial adhesives, laminations and nonwovens, each of which will have its own respective leader, in addition to Klonne.

As the companies integrate, Klonne said he expects the transition to go smoothly. “Bostik Findley will be one of the premiere adhesives companies in the world with unparalleled technology and geographic balance. Ato Findley and Bostik have well-established, yet diverse, market and product portfolios that complement each other very nicely,” he said. “There’s little significant overlap in our combined lines of business, so we’re confident that the breadth and depth of our product offerings will make Bostik Findley a powerhouse in many demanding
markets.”

In other news for the new, $73 million multinational company, Phila-delphia’s ELF Atochem North America Inc. has officially changed its name to ATOFINA Chemicals Inc., following the merger. Under the new arrangement, all chemical activities of the newly-merged group, TotalFinaElf, will be organized under ATOFINA.

ATOFINA will remain headquartered in Pennsylvania, where it will continue to market its molecular sieve desiccant beads and powder for insulating glass.

Flour City International Expands Operations
Flour City International Inc., based in Kingsport, Tenn., is expanding its range of business, with pending operations in both California and Asia. The company recently announced that it has signed “Memorandums of Understanding” with two California-based companies and a Shanghai-based curtainwall construction company.

Under Flour City’s agreement with Siemens Solar Industries LP and Atlantis Energy Systems, the three companies will develop a team to work together to develop and implement marketing strategies for Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) modules. As the union begins, Seimens, a world leader in manufacturing BIPV modules and a subsidiary of Atlantis, will work with Flour City to promote the product to architects, real estate developers and builders.

“Aligning ourselves with Siemens Solar Industries and Atlantis Energy—companies with the proven ability to envision and reach the next level of technological development within solar-generated energy products—provides us a major advantage in establishing our presence in the building and construction industries as a provider of technologically advanced, integrated photovoltaic curtainwall systems,” said Flour City’s president, Edward M.Boyle.

In addition to this agreement, the company recently announced that it has also signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with a Shanghai-based curtainwall construction company to acquire 70 percent ownership of the company. Already the owner of a manufacturing facility in China and a subsidiary office in Shanghai, Flour City hopes the new venture will help it to increase revenues and to extend its business in Asia.

“Our business plan for fiscal 2001 calls for 30 percent growth in revenues,” Boyle said. “We have already enjoyed significant revenue growth in Asia with contracts from Asia/Pacific countries contributing more than 50 percent of our revenue for the first six months of fiscal 2000.” Boyle continued, “We believe we can significantly increase our revenues from China, in particular Shanghai, by joining forces with a strategic partner which has a strong presence with local architects, builders and government officials. This relationship will provide the additional validity needed to quickly take advantage of the explosive high-rise construction growth market in the region.”


Clarification
In the September issue of USGlass, the story “Boston Glassworks of Old Featured in Scientific American,” was incorrectly cited as appearing in the June issue of Scientific American’s Discovering Archaeology. The story actually appeared on the magazine’s website as a feature article in June.

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