Despite inflation, glass rates drop by 25%

New Delhi, May 24 | Updated: May 25 2007, 07:07am hrs
With prices of steel and cement on an upswing, glass is the only building material industry that has registered a drop of 25% in prices in the face of inflation. While the rate of primary glass products has remained stable for the past 7-8 years, the prices of energy-efficient glass have come down to Rs 45 per sq ft (5 mm) as compared to the Rs 60 per sq ft rate 4-5 years ago.

Industry experts feel, the primary reason behind the downward trend is the scale of demand for glass in India today, increasing use of technology and reducing cost of manufacturing. Rising competition is another factor that has brought down the rates of energy efficient glass in the past couple of years.

Says B Santhanam, chairman, IGLASS and president Flat Glass, South Asia, This is practically the only building material sector that has registered a drop in rates mainly owing to the huge demand that it is experiencing following the huge real estate boom that the country is witnessing today. Further, this is one of the few sectors, which does not have an unorganised market. All global players in glass manufacturing are present in India.

With an annual demand of 1 million tonne (Rs 4,500 crore or $1 billion), the glass industry in India is dominated by global players like Saint Gobain, Asahi and Guardian. It recorded an annual growth of 13-14%, of which energy efficient glass is a whopping 30-40%, and plain glass--8%. The spurt in demand for architectural and decorative purposes has also attracted a number of other foreign players like Korean glassmaker DM Wall System Co Ltd. and Gloverbel of Belgium to set up shop here.

The present price range of glass is Rs 30 per sq ft, Rs 40 per sq ft , Rs 45-50 per sq ft and Rs 60-90 per sq ft.