Turkey’s top glass maker Şişecam is planning to invest more in India, where it is considering producing windshields for the country’s booming auto industry.
General Manager Ahmet Kırman announced on Monday that the company is also seeking new investment opportunities in Mexico and Europe.
India is one of the most attractive markets in the world in terms of growth potential, Kırman explained in an interview in Istanbul.
“India is a very good market, especially in terms of sheet glass. We plan to rapidly increase our capabilities regarding product diversification, opening new (glass) furnaces… We will be more efficient in India by expanding our product range,” he said.
He noted that Indian automotive market was also experiencing a very serious growth trend.
“We do not have an automotive glass production there right now. A new factory for automobile glass production is necessary. We will be making an assessment on that as well,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kırman declined to provide an amount for the planned investments.
He 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.
He noted that they are thinking of a possible investment in Mexico in the glass packaging area.
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.
As for their main business areas, Kırman said they were carrying out market research and feasibility studies for automotive glass in India and glass packaging in Mexico.
However, he said, investment decisions in the upcoming period will be determined by the global protectionist policies and the flow of potential trade wars in the world.
India is making more cars than ever as its economy develops and domestic passenger vehicle sales rose by 20 percent in May from last year, data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers shows. Şişecam, the third largest producer of glassware in the world and fifth largest in glass packaging and flat glass, made 4.8 million tons 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.
Şişecam 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 euros ($18.32 million).
When asked whether or not they think of new investment in Italy, Kırman said they will most probably plan it.
“We can plan a development in terms of a factory in the north, we are t
hinking about it,” he said.
He noted that they were also assessing investment opportunities in other European countries, indicating that investing in Western European countries does not seem very attractive because of high costs.
Kirman said Şişecam was also looking to invest in start-ups in Turkey and abroad to diversify from its core business.