FG Glass wants to make glasses that are better for the environment

FG Glass, which largely operates in the commercial architectural space, now wants to make glasses better for the environment, one piece at a time.

FG Glass wants to make glasses that are better for the environment

Wednesday March 29, 2023,

5 min Read

Key Takeaways

  • FG Glass is engaged in many public and private projects in India.
  • Globally, it has a footprint in around 25 countries.
  • The company is currently working to develop glasses that make buildings energy efficient.

In the 1970s, two brothers set out to build a business out of glass. Fakhruddin and Sajjad Husain first started selling mirror frames from a small shop in Mumbai.

Then came glass trading. “Glass import was not something that many people were doing at that time,” Tariq Kachwala, Director of FG Glass, told SMBStory.

Float glass is a smooth, distortion-free glass used to build other glass products like laminated glass and heat-toughened glass.

While the brothers had a headstart early on, as the 90s approached, they began to face competition from established players like Asahi and Guardian—who began making float glass in India.

That’s when the Kachwala brothers had to rethink their strategy. They began importing more innovative glasses such as ultra-clear glasses, which are premium glasses with little to no green tinge, and jumbo-sized glasses, which were unusual at the time and measured 10 feet by 20 feet.

As years passed, it came time for the second generation to take over. "In 2003, when my cousins and I joined the company, we planned to expand into the glass processing industry. FG Glass was founded in 2005," says Tariq.

The second generation—Suhel, Nuruddin, and Tariq Kachwala—then took off from the first, taking the business from its trading roots.

Today, Mumbai-based FG Glass is a glass processing company, involved in making structures with a low carbon footprint and are energy efficient.

It is the second company in the family-run Fishfa group and works in the architectural space, serving customers from 25 countries globally besides its glass processing capabilities.

FG Glass

FG Glass Project (Motilal Oswal, Mumbai)

To date, it has engaged in many private and public projects in India.

Making the right piece

Within the architectural space, it has five product categories—facades, interiors, security solutions, fire safety, and creations. First, the company buys float glass from glass makers and alters it to meet customer demands by cutting, tempering, insulating, or laminating, after which it adds design to these items to create a final solution.

“Other than the quality of our glasses, we have also focused a lot on brand building. This has been a big catalyst for us to venture into the international market,” says Kachwala.

To date, the company counts GSC Glass, Saint Gobain, and FUSO Glass as its competitors. It directly supplies to developers, and general contractors like L&T and Shapoorji, besides aluminium fabricators, and indirectly serves architects and facade consultants—by providing them with solutions for buildings in terms of aesthetics and performance.

During the pandemic, FG Glass hit a few obstacles owing to a sharp rise in the prices of raw materials. As the lockdowns eased, it kicked off operations and became vital to several infrastructure projects like hospitals and metro stations.

It has also worked on the facades of projects such as Goldstone in Bengaluru, El Castillo, Beaumonde, Proxima in Navi Mumbai, Birla Aurora in Mumbai, and others, as well as the interiors of many corporate offices. In the public projects space it has worked on the Central Vista project, ICC Convention Centre in New Delhi, the ITPO building in Delhi, many AIIMS and other hospital projects, and airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Chandigarh.

Apart from projects in different parts of India, it also supplies to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Qatar, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

FG Glass also has a production facility in Taloja, Navi Mumbai. It covers an area of 10,022 square meters and comprises 20 machines—with a daily production capacity of 50 tonnes.

In partnership with Schott, a German company, FG Glass became the sole distributor of their fire-safety glasses in India and worked on buildings like the CBI headquarters in Bandra, IKEA in Hyderabad, ONGC Data Centre in Mumbai, President Museum in New Delhi, and also the upcoming Central Vista building.

FG Glass

FG Glass Project (L&T)

Addressing energy efficiency

Now, the company is attempting to build structures with a minimal carbon footprint. “We do it in two ways: by reducing the manufacturing carbon footprint of our company and by working with other glass companies to come up with solutions for buildings,” says Tariq.

According to a study on present and future energy consumption of buildings, the buildings and construction sector accounts for around 40% of the world's energy usage.

In the works are plans to make glasses that would inhibit the ingress of heat from outside to inside of the building. Its glasses function 70%-80% better than other clear glasses in the market, says Kachwala.

“The less heat that goes inside the building… less stress is placed on the energy systems for regions with a climate like India,” he adds.

It also plans to work with the government to bring energy efficiency ratings for buildings in India that could determine the property taxes and incentives that they may get from the government.

Besides this, it is also making bird-friendly glasses as part of its CSR initiative as well as business development, which have less glazing and are mirrorless—in a bid to reduce potential bird deaths, which are in the billions, according to Kachwala.

As far as sales go, Kachwala notes that in convincing people in India about buying glasses, pricing comes first. “We are successful in 10%-20% of the cases in convincing them to upgrade but the effort is worth it,” he adds.

In FY24, the company aims to increase revenue by at least 15% over the current fiscal year. In the year 2020-21, the growth was slow, but it grew by 53% year-on-year (YoY) in FY22. It expects to close FY23 with a YoY growth of 45%.

FG Glass has placed its focus on converting regular projects into high-end projects, which would fuel the company’s growth, besides increasing its existing production capacity by incorporating state-of-the-art machines.

Disclaimer: This story has been updated to correct a few typos.

Edited by Akanksha Sarma