Operational Environment

Glaston is a frontrunner in glass industry technologies and services, responding globally to the glass processing needs of the architectural, solar, appliance and automotive industries. Demand for Glaston’s products and services is dependent on demand for glass and glass processors’ capacity. Demand for glass is expected to grow by around 3–5% annually in the coming years. Demand for smart glass is expected to grow by 12–15 %.

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, intelligent glass and energy-efficient glass packages is being supported by increasing environmental awareness and investments in renewable energy. Most, i.e. around 80%, of glass produced with Glaston’s technology is supplied to the building industry, around 10% to the automotive industry, and the remaining 10% to the appliance industry.

Glaston operates in a global market, and the company’s business is to a large extent linked to trends in global investment demand.

Market

Glaston has divided its market areas into EMEA, America, and APAC. The EMEA area has traditionally been a strong market for Glaston and in 2019, it generated approximately 42% of Glaston’s net sales. In 2019 Americas’ share of the company’s total revenue was approximately 37% and APAC’s share 21%.

In 2019, the economic uncertainty in the EMEA area, and particularly in Europe, continued throughout the year and this was also reflected in the investment willingness of European glass processing customers.

Market activity in the EMEA area for heat treatment machines continued to be subdued throughout the year, although in some European countries such as Germany, Austria and France, the bottom appears to have already been reached and a pick-up in demand was evident in the fourth quarter of 2019. The insulating glass machines market continued to develop well in 2019.

The Asia-Pacific area is expected to be the fastest growing market area for glass processing in the coming years. The Chinese glass industry market is the largest in the Asia-Pacific area. Price competition is intense and local operators have a significant competitive advantage in a cost-conscious market.

In 2019, demand for heat treatment machines in the APAC area was weakened by global trade policy uncertainties, and in China competition continued to be intense. However, demand for services developed positively throughout the area. Demand for insulating glass machines was at a good level.

In 2019, the overall market situation in North America remained good, and the heat treatment machine, insulating glass machine and services markets were buoyant in the fourth quarter. In the USA, stricter building regulations and higher quality requirements for glass supported demand throughout the year. Central and South American markets remained volatile due to political unrest in a number of countries.

Growth Drivers

Competitors

In the Machines business area, Glaston is one of the world’s leading operators. In this business area, Glaston is able to offer its customers the widest product range and service offering on the market.

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.

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.