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Wienerberger launches first Indian manufacturing unit

2. March 2010

The Deputy Austrian Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Josef Proell, inaugurated the Wienerberger plant at Kunigal

On 20th February, 2010 Wienerberger Brick Industry Pvt. Ltd. has inaugurated its first manufacturing unit in India at Kunigal, Karnataka, in the presence of distinguished dignitaries from Austria and India. The Austrian delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Josef Proell. Karnataka was represented by H.E. Shri S. Suresh Kumar, Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs.

Wienerberger India is a wholly-owned subsidairy of Wienerberger AG, founded 1819 in Vienna and the world’s largest producer of ceramic building products, with revenues of over INR 12,200 crores (EUR 1,815 million) in 2009. Wienerberger has leading market positions in building solutions for walls, façades, roofs and paving.

The Kunigal facility, 65 kms from Bangalore, is Wienerberger’s first Asian facility amongst currently 227 plants in 27 countries. This fully- automated and state-of-the-art production facility manufactures POROTHERM Clay Hollow Blocks. In 2010 the company will also start with TERCA Facing Bricks. POROTHERM Clay Blocks are light weight and help developers and house builders reduce structural costs. At the same time, the blocks have excellent thermal and sound insulation and great value retention through an unlimited life span. With a capacity of 1,00,000 tons or 70 million brick units per annum it is the biggest unit of its kind in South- East Asia. The production is cost-efficient, environment friendly and runs 365 days independent of weather conditions.

After receiving the authorization from the Karnataka State High Level Clearance Committee, Wienerberger took 14 months to complete the factory covering 30 acres of land in the Kunigal KIADB Industrial Area. In April 2009, commercial production started and since then the company has won several prestigious projects. POROTHERM Clay Hollow Blocks have been used in Hyderabad, all major cities / districts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and down south to Thiruvananthapuram. The projects comprise educational institutions, hospitals,hotels and large apartment and villa projects. Savings from using the blocks are especially large in high rise construction with more than four or five stories.

The company has generated over 200 jobs. The Bangalore office on Richmond Road houses a 2000 square feet showroom and an open air roofing solution centre. At the Kunigal factory the company has set up a Masonry Training Centre and conducts training courses for contractors to improve construction practices and demonstrate the correct use of their products.

“The demand for eco-friendly building materials is on the rise in India and the world over. We provide high-quality natural building materials which reduce construction costs and are available from a reliable supplier with a legacy 190 years in Europe. The demand for these materials will increase rapidly in India, which is our most important growth market globally. In India we work very closely with architects, provide them with solutions and listen to their valuable suggestions. We are an active member of Indian Green Buildings Council”, says Mr. Ingo Hofmaier, Managing Director and Commercial Director of Wienerberger India.

Other products ranges, like KORAMIC Clay Roof Tiles and ARGETON Façade Tiles are imported from European plants. Ventilated façades using terracotta tiles are an intelligent solution to save energy used for cooling office space and look great. ARGETON became the most popular ventilated façade solution in only two years. Projects ranged from 200 square meters residential houses to 24,000 square meter hotels. Today Wienerberger is still the only importer of high quality ceramic builiding materials with a wholly owned representation in India and is represented in Bangalore and Mumbai with its own staff.

“We are excited about the opportunity to do business in India. Our raw materials are locally sourced in an environmentally friendly manner. We do not touch agricultural land to excavate clay in India. This makes our products an excellent example of green building materials and allows us to keep with our tradition of environment friendly production practices. The plant is built with state- of-the-art European machines and uses the same technology as our plant in, say France, Germany, or UK. Integrated in our factory is a laboratory in which we continuously test all raw materials and finished products. In all regards, our production abides by European Standards in quality of output and process. “ commented Mr. Rudy Van Reeth, Managing Director, Technical. “Within not even a year of its completion, the company has bagged quite a few large-scale prestigious projects all over South India, according to Mr. Sunil Valluri, General Manager Sales, India Operations. The 21 storeyed Raheja Pebble Pay, Bangalore, ISB Business School, Hyderabad, Ramaniyam at Chennai etc. are some of the major on going projects for POROTHERM Clay Hollows blocks.

Even for imported brands like ARGETON Clay Façade Tiles, India has proved to be an attractive market for Wienerberger, the largest project ever completed globally with an ARGETON has been the Star Hotel in Pune, covering 24,000 square meters. Even for the high-end roof tiles market, the Ocean Spray Resort in Pondicherry is an exemplary project where KORAMIC roof tiles make a big difference. To reach clients all over South India, Wienerberger has developed a network of 60 authorized dealers. And in Bangalore, clients can experience all our products in our Richmond Road showroom.

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