Glaston is a frontrunner in glass industry technologies and services, responding globally to the glass processing needs of the architectural, solar, display and automotive industries. Demand for Glaston’s products and services is dependent on demand for glass and glass processors’ capacity. Glaston’s addressable glass processing equipment market is expected to grow by more than 5% annually, on average, during the strategy period 2021-2025.
Use of glass in construction is increasing through urbanization. Special requirements for glass are growing due to changing environmental factors, increasing safety regulations and energy-efficiency demands. In the automotive industry, the relative proportion of glass in vehicles is growing and use of thin glass, in particular, is increasing. Growth of solar energy, smart glass and energy-efficient glass is being supported by increasing environmental awareness and investments in renewable energy.
Glass processed using Glaston’s processing machines is supplied to the architectural glass, automotive glass, solar energy and display industries. Most of the glass produced with the company’s technology is supplied to the architectural glass industry (measured by volume).
Glaston operates in a global market, and the company’s business is to a large extent linked to trends in global investment demand.
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In 2021, Glaston’s market saw a strong recovery and customer business activity improved in most regions and markets. The strength of the company’s product offering, particularly in the architectural segment, was clearly visible, and Glaston entered into several customer agreements during the year, including for both heat treatment and insulating glass equipment. Cross-selling is strategically and commercially important and will further strengthen the company’s market position in the future.
Glaston has divided its market areas into EMEA, America, and APAC. The EMEA area has traditionally been a strong market for Glaston and in 2021, it generated approximately 52% of Glaston’s net sales. In 2021 Americas’ share of the company’s total revenue was approximately 30% and APAC’s share 17%.
In 2021, increasing market activity was noted throughout the year in Glaston’s main market area, the EMEA region. The positive development in the architectural market boosted demand for advanced Heat Treatment and Insulating Glass technologies equipment. Very strong market recovery was also observed for Heat Treatment upgrades. Demand was further supported by subsidy programs that were launched in a number of European countries.
In China, strong market recovery was observed and customers showed increasing interest in large-sized lines and automation. The TPS® technology, as well as other high-end Insulating Glass lines, were in high demand Elsewhere in the APAC region, activity remained at a lower level mainly due to coronavirus-related restrictions, although signs of increased activity were noted in the fourth quarter.
As of the second quarter, automotive glass market activity in China developed well, where the market is driven by the classic automotive industry and display industry.
Driven by the residential glass sector, market recovery in North America continued at a good level throughout the year. The increasing market activity boosted demand, especially for the Thermoplastic Spacer (TPS®) technology, as well as for the flat tempering and laminating lines. After a strong first half of the year, the Services market slowed down in the third quarter, continuing into the fourth quarter.
As of the second quarter, good recovery was noted for the North American automotive glass market. The North American market is mainly driven by special products such as recreational vehicles (RV) and heavy vehicles. Typically, orders from North American customers are for highly customized solutions, taking advantage of Glaston’s flexibility and ability to respond to the customers’ special requirements.
The glass technology market is still fragmented and Glaston has many competitors. However, due to the challenging market situation, consolidation has accelerated in recent years.
The glass processing technology market is highly fragmented, with many small players manufacturing and selling machines and solutions to different parts of the flat glass processing chain.
The market can be divided into the high-end segment, mid-market segment and low performance segment in accordance with the customers’ quality and performance standards for the product. Glaston’s main addressable markets are the high-end and mid-market segment. Glaston estimates that in the high-end market segment, the customers have the highest requirements for machine capacity, uptime and services, as well as the highest quality requirements for the end product.
In the mid-market segment, the glass processors are usually regional or local processors and the quality requirements for the end product are lower than in the high-end segment.
Glaston’s main competitors are from Europe, China and Japan. For heat treatment equipment, Glaston’s main competitors are from China, for insulating glass equipment, the main competitors are from Central Europe and for automotive equipment, the main competitor is located in Japan.
In the Services business area, Glaston’s customer service network is the sector’s most extensive both geographically and in terms of personnel. There are more than 20 service locations. In addition, the service range provided by the Services business is the most comprehensive in the sector. Glaston’s comprehensive Glaston Care service agreements distinguish Glaston from its competitors. Maintenance services are available for every stage of the life cycle of products.