Nov 1 2010
Global flat glass demand turned towards negative territory in 2008 as the sub-prime crisis engulfed the entire world.
The consequent full-blown recession had a deepening impact on the construction and automotive industries that account for about 80% of the flat glass demand. Capacity utilization, which had remained over 90% for the last several years, declined to below 87% in 2009. Region-wise, the decline was particularly sharp in Europe, Japan and North America. China, the single largest flat glass producer globally, also faced consequences of the meltdown. The market is currently showing signs of recovery, particularly led by economic growth in the developing countries. Huge economic stimulus provided by governments across the world is proving beneficial for the construction and automotive markets, with the positive effects percolating into the flat glass industry.
Asia-Pacific represents the largest as well as the fastest growing market for flat glass, as stated by the new market research report on Flat Glass. Rising economic affluence is expected to boost the automobile industry in these countries. In China replacement of inferior quality sheet glass by float glass and increased acceptance of fabricated glass of high value including insulating glass and safety glass are expected to shape the glass market in the next decade. Globally, factors such as increasing demand for energy conservation and implementation of new legislation for safety and noise levels at manufacturing units are fueling higher usage of glass in construction activity. Architectural market for advanced flat glass is expected to benefit from features such as low-emissivity, reflective and smart glass. In the automotive sector, increased use of value added glass, use of glazing as styling and differentiating feature, and environmental concerns are driving the use of double-glazed glass. The industry is also deriving growth from new smart-glass products such as electrochromic, switchable glass, self-cleaning window glass and heads-up display windscreens.
Within the flat glass market, Float Glass constitutes the largest process type and accounts for a lion’s share of the global flat glass demand. In developed markets such as Europe and the US, vehicle manufacturers are gravitating towards the use of laminated side glazings, which enhance security as well as vehicle comfort. Laminated glazings lead to larger volume of glass usage as two layers of glass are used in place of the previously used monolithic side glazings.
A major reason behind the highly consolidated market state of the float glass industry is the capital-intensive nature of the industry. Four big players, namely, Asahi Glass Co. (AGC), Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG GROUP), Saint-Gobain and Guardian Industries, dominate the global flat glass industry. Other major market participants include China Luoyang Float Glass Group Co. Ltd, CSG Holding Co. Ltd., JSC Salavatsteklo, KCC Corporation, PPG Industries, Schott Group, Sisecam Group, and Taiwan Glass.
The research report titled “Flat Glass: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a comprehensive analysis of the global flat glass market including structural overview, market trends, drivers, product profile, end-use analysis, players and competition in the market. The report also offers profiles of leading players and presents recent developments, mergers, acquisitions, as well as other strategic industry activities. The study analyzes flat glass market by major product segments including Float Glass, Sheet Glass and Rolled Glass, and end use segments namely Construction, Automotive and Specialty. Detailed analysis is provided for major geographic markets including the US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, Russia, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Latin America.