This looks like the first bit of major bad news for the glass area of our industry. Pilkington have announced that they are to shut one of it’s three UK production lines in an effort to save on costs.
Pilkington’s Japanese owners, NSG, are looking to cut 3500 jobs worldwide. Pilkington employ 300o people in the UK, so a closure of this scale is unfortunately set to have a big impact on jobs.
NSG say that the demand for automotive and building supplies has fallen in Europe, which would reflect the construction slump being felt in this country. The company is looking to cut costs by 20bn Yen or £166m. It was expecting a 14bn yen profit for the year up to March, however they are reporting a massive slump in fortunes and are now forecasting a loss of 3bn yen.
One line from the company however did surprise me. They said that the global market for solar energy glass had ‘worsened significantly’. I have to disagree with this. The demand for energy saving glass in this country has boomed over the last four years, as it has in most other countries where energy saving has become more focused.
The most pressing concern here is the loss of jobs. The final number won’t be known until the plant to be closed is chosen. The other concern to suppliers and installers will be any effect on supply and prices. Will our glass manufacturers find that particular types of glass will suffer shortages. Will the closure and possible shortages cause price increases in the future? All questions with answers quite a way down the road.
This does put a downer on what has been a pretty positive start to 2012. Lets hope that the closure is only a temporary one and NSG find a good reason to re-open the line in due course.
There is a report on the closure on the BBC website. To see the report click here.