Last month the German operations of Saint-Gobain Sekurit (Paris, France), one of the worlds largest suppliers of automotive glass, acquired partner Schefenacker German HoldCo GmbHs stake in the two firms freeglass joint venture. freeglass (Schwaikheim, Germany), formed in 2001 between Saint-Gobain Sekurit Deutschland and Schefenacker GmbH. It is among the first processors to commercially market polycarbonate (PC) window glazing, and its injection molded PC windows have seen use in, for instance, Mercedes-Benz B-class vehicles and Smart fortwo city cars. Terms of the purchase were not revealed. According to Sekurit, freeglass has 130 employees and generates sales of about 27 million euros.
The deal comes as events at Schefenacker continue to unfold. Schefenacker German HoldCo GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of automotive exterior mirrors manufacturer Schefenacker plc, which on Dec. 11 will change its name to Visiocorp plc. Earlier this year, to escape insolvency, Schefenacker split its business into lighting and automotive mirrors, with the mirrors business moved to England to take advantage of that countrys insolvency laws. Corporate headquarters for the mirrors business is now in Portchester, England.
Injection molded PC window glazing remains an application on the verge of giant future business. In late August, Sabic Innovative Plastics (the former GE Plastics; Pittsfield, MA) bought out joint-venture partner Bayers share in the firms PC glazing joint venture, Exatec.
Meanwhile, local German papers report that the Schefenackers lighting business in Schwaikheim, which is separate from the automotive exteriors business, is being restructured, with up to 500 employeesmany of them part-timersexpected to lose their jobs.[email protected]