AGC plans to close its Fleurus plant (Belgium)
On 9 February 2022, AGC Automotive Belgium informed its works council of its intention to close the site. The plant currently employs 187 workers. Solutions will be studied to minimize the social impact.
AGC Automotive Belgium is part of the South & West Cluster of the Group’s Automotive Division and manufactures laminated glass for the European automotive sector.
In a very difficult market context, AGC had announced in September 2021 an intention to make 40 workers redundant at the Fleurus site (Belgium). The aim of this restructuring was to adapt the organization of the plant to the foreseeable drop in its production level caused by the lack of new models nomination for the coming years. A number of reflections had been initiated, also involving the trade union representatives.
Unfortunately, the overall situation of AGC's Automotive business in Europe has deteriorated further over the last few months.
In an unstable and deeply evolving Automotive market, the profitability of the windscreen business has been affected for several years now by a strong and worldwide competition between glass manufacturers and by the products’ technological evolutions. Almost two years ago, the Group's difficulties in saturating its laminated glass production lines were exacerbated by the Covid crisis and the ongoing semiconductor crisis. Even more recently, there has been a dramatic increase in energy and raw material costs.
These price increases have greatly accentuated the losses of the Automotive activity, requiring the rapid launch of strong actions to preserve AGC's sustainability in Europe, notably: the stopping of unprofitable businesses, the reorganization of the industrial footprint, but also the strategic repositioning of the Group regarding its production sites in Europe.
Given these combined difficulties, the savings opportunities for the Fleurus plant, both in fixed and variable costs - opportunities that could have led to new models allocation or new investments - will not allow the site to recover from its chronically loss-making situation.
AGC is forced to consider the gradual shutdown (2022-2023) of the Fleurus site's activities and a collective redundancy. A social plan and alternative solutions will be examined with the partners concerned.
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AGC Automotive Europe
Based in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), AGC Automotive Europe is the European automotive glass branch of the AGC Group. The AGC Group, with Tokyo-based AGC Inc. at its core, is a world-leading supplier of flat, automotive and display glass, chemicals and other high-tech materials and components. AGC Automotive Europe specializes in production of windows (OEM and replacement) for vehicle manufacturers. It also provides ready-to-assemble systems (fixation devices), higher value added functional systems (antennas, sensors, heating elements) and enhanced property glazing (improved thermal, sound and vision comfort).
For more information go to www.agc-automotive.com (automotive glass, OEM) and www.agc-arg.com (automotive glass, ARG). Join us on Linkedin.