PPG plans to restructure Wigan fiber glass facility to better meet European market needs

Plant to focus on direct-draw rovings; China JV to supply chopped strand fiber glass mat

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 26, 2006 – PPG Industries’ Wigan, England, fiber glass plant is proposing to transform its manufacturing processes and work force to direct its focus on the European market for single-end, direct-draw rovings.

The proposed restructuring involves significant streamlining of the facility’s manufacturing processes at the site and, at the same time, a reduction of approximately 100 jobs by the end of March, 2007. The transformation’s objective is to enable the Wigan facility to be more competitive in select European markets, according to Steve Verdin, Wigan plant manager.

“Our entire two-furnace operation will be geared to meeting European customers’ growing needs in the wind energy, long-fiber thermoplastics, and high-pressure pipe industries,” Verdin said. “We intend to invest approximately $5 million in automated, state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities to provide our customers with high-quality, direct-draw product at competitive prices.”

As part of the Wigan transformation, PPG will be shifting manufacture and supply of chopped-strand fiber glass mat to the PPG Sinoma Jin Jing Fiber Glass Zibo, Ltd., joint venture in Zibo, China. Manufacture of gun rovings has already been transferred to the Zibo site. Chopped-strand fiber glass mat is used to make various thermoset applications for the marine, electrical and construction markets.

“PPG will continue to provide our European customers with consistently high-quality, competitively priced products and services from both Wigan and the PPG Sinoma Jin Jing joint venture,” said Hein Gaarenstroom, sales director, fiber glass, Europe. “We will be using our global network of manufacturing assets to service our customers in the most cost-effective way.”

PPG is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of continuous-strand fiber glass. PPG and its equity affiliates have 12 manufacturing facilities worldwide focused primarily on the global electronics, thermoplastics, thermosets and general industrial markets. With 2005 sales of $10.2 billion, Pittsburgh-based PPG is also a leading global supplier of coatings, glass and chemicals.


Larry O’Reilly

Vince Morales