The NSG Group announced on 14 April a £36M investment in an off-line coating facility at Pilkington Park, adjacent to its Cowley Hill site in St Helens.
The Group, which acquired Pilkington plc. in 2006, is already a substantial employer locally and the investment will create 50 skilled jobs and expand the company’s successful Apprenticeship scheme.
An award of £5M towards the project has been made by the Regional Growth Fund; a Government scheme to boost growth in the private sector. The first round of these investments was announced on 12 April.
The coating line will become operational in October 2012 and will enable the company to provide customers with high-performance low-emissivity glazing products, complementing its well-established and widely-used Pilkington K Glass™, as well as solar control glass.
David Pinder, Managing Director, Building Products UK & South Europe said: “We are delighted that the Government is supporting us in making this investment. It is excellent news, not only for our company, but also for the local community. The new line will allow us to widen our range of high-performance coated glasses, enabling our customers to meet and exceed UK building energy-saving regulations. Local UK manufacture of some products we currently import from our plants elsewhere in Europe will help reduce transport costs and environmental impact, in line with our Sustainability agenda”.
Bob Hepworth, Director of Urban Regeneration and Housing, St Helens Council confirmed: “The investment strengthens the long-term future of float glass production in St. Helens. It also underpins the City Region’s low carbon strategy. This very significant amount of funding is a tremendous boost both to the company and to the economy of the town.”
UK Building Regulations have been gradually tightened since 2002, mandating the use of low-emissivity products in new and replacement windows in homes. The new coating line will manufacture improved products to meet tighter regulations in future. The wider range of products will satisfy an even broader range of customer and market-specific requirements. It is estimated that installing energy-efficient windows in all UK homes could reduce national CO2 emissions by 10 per cent and domestic energy expenditure by 10 per cent - saving in excess of £2 billion per year.
The NSG Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of glass and glazing systems in three major business areas; Building Products, Automotive and Specialty Glass. Founded in 1918, NSG acquired the leading UK-based glass manufacturer Pilkington plc in June 2006. Today, the enlarged company has combined sales of approximately JPY 600 billion, with manufacturing operations in 29 countries and sales in 130 countries, employing some 28,500 people worldwide. The Group’s Flat Glass businesses, encompassing Building Products and Automotive Products, account for 90 per cent of annual sales, with the balance being in Specialty Glass. The Specialty Glass business covers a number of niche markets, the most important of which are in displays and optical products for printers and copiers. The Group has major market shares in most building and automotive product markets of the world, with a broad geographic reach, enabling it to respond to customers whose Operations, particularly in the case of Automotive OE, are increasingly global. Geographically, 42 per cent of the Group’s sales are in Europe, 28 per cent in Japan and 13 per cent in North America, with the rest primarily in South America, South East Asia and China.
Pilkington United Kingdom operates three float manufacturing lines and one rolled glass line in St Helens, Merseyside and distributes glass for buildings directly to independent customers and to its network of branches countrywide. Glass is further processed and distributed in stock, toughened and laminated forms as well as insulating glass units and specialist glazing such as fire-resistant Pilkington Pyrostop® and the structural Pilkington Planar™ glass system. Having launched the first inline coated glass for low emissivity glazing, Pilkington K Glass™ nearly 20 years ago, the new coated facility enables the company to widen its portfolio of products for UK customers and be ready to meet the demand for better performing products for residential and commercial installation.