21/07/2017 - 14:21

CSR closes Perth factory

21/07/2017 - 14:21

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Building products company CSR has closed its Jandakot glass factory resulting in the loss of 58 jobs, though growth by competitors including Walshs Glass and Tough Glass will mitigate the impact.

Tough Glass was established in 2010 by Jag Varsani, who has been selected as a finalist in EY’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Building products company CSR has closed its Jandakot glass factory resulting in the loss of 58 jobs, though growth by competitors including Walshs Glass and Tough Glass will mitigate the impact.

CSR subsidiary Viridian (formerly Pilkingtons) will retain 14 employees in Perth but the bulk of its local staff finished up yesterday.

A CSR spokesperson said market conditions in Western Australia had made it difficult for Viridian to maintain a sustainable business and necessitated a review of its manufacturing operations.

“As a result, we have made the decision to cease glass processing at Jandakot as part of a broader restructuring program,” the spokesperson said.

Viridian has also closed operations in Darwin and Cairns.

Former competitor Walshs Glass has acquired selected assets from Viridian and will supply certain products, including Viridian’s LightBridge and Performatech brands, to existing customers.

Walshs chief executive Brad Draper said he was planning to take on 20 extra employees to support growth of the business, which currently has about 120 staff.

Mr Draper said Walshs also planned to purchase more ‘float’ glass from Viridian’s factory in Melbourne, which is the only producer of bulk glass in Australia.

He said other glass processors in WA may also purchase more bulk glass from Viridian, now that it is no longer processing and installing glass products in the local market.

Viridian’s exit leaves the WA market in the hands of four glass processors – Walshs, Cooling Brothers, Modern Glass and relatively new entrant Tough Glass.

Tough Glass was established in 2010 by Jag Varsani, who has been selected as a finalist in EY’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

His business has grown to have 48 full-time employees and up to 10 casuals at its 4,000 square metre factory in Wangara.

Mr Varsani said he used innovative manufacturing techniques and the best software to create an efficient business.

This includes processing in batches to speed up delivery of completed products to customers.

“That brought the lead time from five days to 48 hours,” Mr Varsani said.

Tough also specialises in glass processing.

“That’s one of the differences between us and the big glass processors in WA; they are all processing as well as installing,” Mr Varsani said.

“We don’t install glass, we just supply.”

Tough has an office in Manila, where the machines are programmed to meet the needs of each order.

Privately owned Walshs was established in 1971 and operates from an 8,000sqm factory in Canning Vale.

Cooling Brothers started trading in 1946 and, after two changes of ownership, has grown to a 7,000sqm facility in High Wycombe with about 100 staff.

Maddington-based Modern Glass was established in 1947.

 

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