Ceramic Industry News / Advanced Ceramics

Asahi Glass Issues Update on Japan Earthquake Restoration

Following the previous announcement regarding the impact of the earthquake, Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. (AGC) has announced an update on the group’s restoration efforts, as follows.

AGC has confirmed the safety of all AGC Group employees. Several employees were slightly injured during the disaster.

Following is the current status of disaster-affected facilities:

AGC Asahi Glass Kashima Plant (Kamisu, Ibaraki prefecture)
Architectural Glass: There was damage to a part of the float glass facility for architectural flat glass; production has been suspended to date. As a result of the company’s recovery efforts, the repair work is expected to be completed in a few days. AGC will continue restoration operations, aiming to restart production in mid-April.

Chemicals: There was also some damage to the manufacturing/shipment facilities for chemicals. Placing a particular priority on sodium bicarbonate that is used for ethical drugs, AGC has already restarted shipments of the product from inventories and is steadily preparing for production restart. Operations will reportedly resume gradually as soon as the supply of electricity, raw materials and fuels for manufacturing activities starts.

In addition, the loading berth used both for shipments of chemicals and for incoming shipments of raw materials for architectural float glass and chemicals has been damaged, and a part of the facility cannot be used. To solve this problem, AGC is currently arranging alternative shipping/receiving methods.

AGC Asahi Glass Chiba Plant (Ichihara, Chiba prefecture)
Due to a fire on the premises of a neighboring factory, AGC voluntarily restricted access to the plant until March 14. After the restriction was lifted, AGC checked the status of the production facilities and conducted restoration operations. AGC placed priority on sodium hypochlorite, which is used for disinfecting drinking water, and restarted shipments of the product from inventory on March 17; production resumed on March 20. In addition, production of caustic soda, which is a raw material for sodium hypochlorite, as well as some other products, has resumed as the in-house power generation facilities reopened on March 23. AGC will gradually resume production of the rest of the products as soon as electricity is secured for operations.

AGC Display Glass Yonezawa (Yonezawa, Yamagata prefecture)
There was no critical damage to the building facilities of AGC Display Glass Yonezawa, which processes small/mid-sized LCD glass substrates; production has resumed/continued. Meanwhile, among the company’s outsourcers what handle a part of its processing operations, some building facilities have been damaged, and urgent restoration work is under way.

AGC Electronics Koriyama Plant (Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture)
AGC conducted restoration work and has resumed production of some products since late March. The plant will be able to resume production of all products in two to three weeks. Production had been suspended at some of the plants for architectural processed glass in Tohoku/North Kanto region. At those locations, excluding the plants near the epicenters of the earthquake, restoration work has been completed and production has resumed.

Shipments: Glass
Until the operations of AGC Kashima plant resume, AGC will allocate existing inventories and shipments from other AGC Group’s plants in and outside the country and make the utmost effort to prevent a supply shortage of architectural glass. While some variations of certain products took time to ship from other plants and AGC had to limit accepting some orders immediately after the earthquake, the group has resumed order placement for those variations.

Shipments: Electronics
The impacts of the earthquakes and tsunamis are limited to small/mid-sized LCD glass substrates, and it is considered that impacts on AGC Group’s overall flat-panel display (FPD) business will be limited.

Shipments: Chemicals
At the AGC Kashima plant, the major issue is how to secure the supply of electricity, raw materials and fuels. AGC will continue discussing with relevant organizations to seek solutions on this matter. In addition, the damage to the loading berth has hindered product shipments and incoming shipments of raw materials and fuels. AGC will respond to the situation by arranging an alternative shipping/receiving method.

At the AGC Chiba plant, shipments of a certain products have already started, as mentioned previously. AGC will continue discussing with relevant organizations to secure electricity supply, and strive to resume production for all the products at the plant.

Financial Impacts on the Group’s Business Performance
As mentioned, AGC exerts its full effort toward the restoration of each business operation. At the same time, AGC leverages its group-wide strength by providing production support from overseas offices and plants through its global network.

In terms of estimated damage from the disaster, AGC expects that the restoration costs will not become enormous under the current circumstances. Right now, however, it is difficult to accurately assess the financial impacts on the group’s business performance due to the factors such as uncertainty about the country’s future economic conditions. AGC will announce the financial impact on its performance as soon as the figures have been confirmed.

Electricity-Saving Measures
In consideration of the ongoing serious electricity shortage, the AGC Group will cooperate in the nationwide electricity-saving efforts by reducing electricity use and implementing operation adjustment at the group’s plants.

For additional details, visit www.agc-group.com/en.

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