AGC decides to close PV cover glass production base in the United States

AGC (Asahi Glass Co., Ltd., Head Office: Tokyo; President & CEO: Kazuhiko Ishimura) has decided to shut down AGC Glass North America’s Kingsport Plant in Tennessee in order to improve the profitability of its photovoltaic (PV) cover glass operations.

This plant closure will cut down more than 30% of the Group’s manufacturing capacity for PV cover glass. The global PV cover glass market has been in an over-supply situation as it was affected by slowing market growth and intensifying competition with emerging Chinese glass manufacturers. Having four manufacturing bases for PV cover glass in Asia, Europe and North America, the AGC Group needed an urgent review on its global production system for PV cover glass to reflect the current market environment. The Kingsport Plant, which concentrates on raw glass production and fabrication for PV cover glass, will be permanently closed in November 2012, following the Group’s decision. In the United States, the Group manufactures glass substrates for thin-film silicon solar cells and raw glass for CSP mirror at the Springhill Plant in Kansas, and the production of these products in the United States will continue into the future.

The closure of the Kingsport Plant will increase the cost competitiveness of Group’s PV cover glass in the world. Taking advantage of its outstanding coating technology, AGC will strengthen its sales base in the solar-related market where mid- and long-term growth is expected. AGC will continue to ensure the optimal operation of its manufacturing facilities for PV cover glass production in the world and flexibly respond to the demand situation in the United States and other regions based on the production bases in Asia and Europe.

1. Outline of AGC Glass North America
(1) Company Name: AGC Flat Glass North America, Inc.
(2) Head Office: Georgia, United States
(3) Capital: 810.3 million US dollars
(4) Equity position: AGC 100%
(5) Establishment: 1978
(6) Business activities: Production and sales of architectural/automotive glass and glass for solar power systems
(7) Number of employees: Approximately 3300 (as of the end of September 30, 2012)

2. Outline of the Kingsport Plant
(1) Location: 1400 Lincoln Street Kingsport.TN 37660.U.S.A.
(2) Representative: Plant manager Bruce Flaherty
(3) Operation: Commenced in 1927 (AGC acquired the plant in 1978.)
(4) Number of employees: Approximately 90
(5) Products: Cover glass for photovoltaic modules
(6) Production facilities: Glass furnace for raw glass production, glass fabrication lines (strengthening and coating facilities)

Source: Asahi Glass Co., Ltd./