AGC (centred on Tokyo-based Asahi Glass) is to move into Brazil's construction and automotive glass markets, investing JPY40bn (about US$470m) in an industrial glass complex in Sao Paulo state. The plant will produce float glass, mirrors, coated glass and automotive laminated and tempered glass, operating under the name of AGC Vidros do Brasil Ltda.

The facility will roll out in phases starting in 2013. By 2016, the company expects to manufacture and market 220,000 tons of construction glass per year as well as automotive glass for 500,000 vehicles per year. It will employ about 500 people.

AGC is forecasting robust demand in the Brazilian economy, which saw GDP grow 7.5% in 2010 and is likely to achieve stable, sustained growth in the years to come. Glass demand will be fuelled by the local construction and automotive markets. The building sector is stimulated by state investment programmes in housing and by upcoming global sporting events. Numerous car makers have announced plans to expand their capacities in Brazil, the world's fourth largest market for new cars last year.

AGC already operates directly in China, India and Russia.