NSG Group Reduces Headcount in Japan, Expands Polish Operations

Nearly two months after reporting a year-over-year revenue decrease amid the COVID pandemic, NSG announced the results of its “voluntary retirement program” in Japan, and the sale of certain non-current assets. According to the company, the voluntary retirement program resulted in 131 applicants volunteering to retire early. With some exceptions, the program allowed for employees aged 40 or older to apply between January 18 and February 12, with the planned retirements March 31.

Additionally, NSG announced the sale of certain non-current assets in Japan. The  company sold the land of the Sagamihara plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on March 30. The building was used as offices and a manufacturing plant, according to a news release. The company also sold land belonging to its research center in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, on March 30.

NSG did not disclose the sale price or the name of the Japanese buyers, citing confidentiality, but noted that there was “no relationship requiring disclosure between NSG and the buyer, including capital, personal or business relationship,” according to the release.

According to the company, NSG expects to recognize a gain of about $64.6 million,* “after deducting the assumed incidental expenses associated with the land’s book value and the sale, as well as the amount equivalent to the selling cost for the right-of-use assets calculated from cumulative lease payments, respectively from the sale price. The gain on disposal of non-current assets will be recorded as an exceptional gain in the consolidated results for the fourth quarter of FY2021.”

And in other news, nearly 100 new jobs are coming to Ostrołęka, Poland, thanks to Pilkington IGP’s plant expansion, which will also increase its production capacity. The project includes, among other things, enlargement of the production hall and office space. The total area after the expansion will reach almost 10,000 square meters—more than double its current size. The new space will allow for further investments, such as retrofitting with modern equipment and doubling the production lines. The main goal is to increase productivity and output, as well as increasing the efficiency and ergonomics. Despite the pandemic, the construction was finished as planned.

“We decided to continue the previously planned modernization of the plant in Ostrołęka. This is not our first initiative. In 2019, we completed the construction of a new glass processing plant in Białystok. Our subsequent investments are a response to the growing demand on the construction market,” says Krzysztof Granicki, managing director of AG Europe East & Nordic, NSG Group. “The plant in Ostrołęka is extremely important for the local community. Its history dates back to 1995. It was then that the PST Sp. z o.o. company was created, which initially [had] 15 employees. The plant was taken over by us in 2014. We currently employ over 100 people and, thanks to the expansion, this number will double.”

*The financial information was converted from Japanese Yen to U.S. dollars on April 9, 2021.

Glaston Revises Operational Structure; Closes Brazilian Subsidiary

Glaston Corp. has implemented a number of organizational changes impacting its global group structure. These include updated business segments, as well as changes to its South American strategy.

As part of its reorganization, the company’s emerging technologies operations are now part of the regional sales structure. Glaston’s business areas are now Heat Treatment Technologies, Insulating Glass Technologies, and Automotive and Display Technologies. Chief sales officer Sasu Koivumäki is responsible for the emerging technologies business, an integral part of the company’s growth strategy, according to the company. Robert Prange, senior vice president of automotive and emerging technologies, will lead the Automotive and Display Technologies business. Dietmar Walz will continue as senior vice president of insulating glass technologies and Miika Äppelqvist as senior vice president of heat treatment technologies.

Emerging technologies will be reported in any one of the three business segments depending on their technology focus.

In addition, Glaston discontinued the operations of its Brazilian subsidiary. The scale-down of operations at the Sao Paolo, Brazil, subsidiary began at the end of 2020; critical operations changed in February 2021. To continue servicing South American customers, Glaston will strengthen its agency and partner network in the region.

Kuraray Invests in Czech Location in Holešov

Kuraray is continuing to invest in its Czech production site in Holešov. The most recent investment expands the manufacturing of its SentryGlas product and will enable the plant to produce the interlayer on roll widths up to 330 centimeters. The installation took place in February 2021, with sales of these rolls starting in the third quarter of 2021.

Initially, the company’s two UltraClear products—SentryGlas and SentryGlas
Xtra—will be available.

Organizations Petition UN for Year of Glass

Each year, the United Nations (U.N.) designates specific periods as markers for events or topics, in order to promote the organization’s objectives. Established by the U.N.’s general assembly, observances range from days, to years and even decades. Now, a cohort of glass-related organizations is petitioning for 2022 to be the Year of Glass, which would celebrate the history, current state, and future of the most transformative material in the history of humankind.

Fronted by organizations such as the International Commission on Glass (ICG), the Community of Glass Associations (CGA) and the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Glass, promoters aim to link the qualities of glass to several U.N. initiatives. An International Year of Glass would “underline the scientific and economic importance of glass in developing and improving the performance of the key technologies, which can help us face the challenges of a sustainable society,” promoters say.

In their proposal to the U.N., glass-related organizations say the material is environmentally friendly, because it’s made from “safe, readily available raw materials,” such as sand, soda ash and limestone. The material can also be reused any number of times, they point out, and the industry is working toward more efficient methods for recycling.

Regarding why 2022 is the year to consider, promoters point to several related industry milestones, including the 70th anniversary of a patent secured by Pilkington for float glass production, forever changing the industry. More than 1,100 letters of endorsement have been sent from 74 countries and every continent, the group reports.

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