AGP Group starts a European glass revolution in Flanders and wins FIT’s 2019 Newcomer of the Year Trophy

What once started as a modest family glass business in Germany over a century ago, gradually developed into the modern large-scale production of high-tech car glass parts. Currently headquartered in Latin America, AGP Group’s European heritage is the driving force behind its growth strategy: after many decades, the company returns to the Old World. Flanders will host two manufacturing plants – one in Roeselare, and another in Ghent. Recognizing the firm’s contributions to Europe’s automotive industry, the Newcomer of the Year Trophy was awarded to AGP Group during Flanders Investment & Trade’s Foreign Investment Trophy event on March 18, 2019.

When it comes to its manufacturing capacity and product innovations in Flanders, AGP Group puts the pedal to the metal. After acquiring Roeselare-based manufacturer Soliver NV in 2018, the global producer of high-tech automotive glass plans to establish its European operational headquarters in the city of Ghent. Through these two investment projects, AGP Group brings the open-minded, flexible and results-oriented mentality of its production centers to the heart of Europe.

A window of opportunity in Flanders

After comparing all candidate subsidiaries in Western Europe, AGP Group settled on Soliver NV. CEO Arturo Mannheim elaborates: “We had a whole list of companies in which we saw a lot of potential. Thanks to its great brand reputation in the European automotive industry, Soliver NV proved to be the best option for AGP. Because of Flanders’ location at the heart of Europe, this project is a key step for us to become the continent’s leading manufacturer of high-tech glass products for electric and autonomous vehicles.”

The decision to set up a second business in Flanders, however, was driven by other region-specific factors. Mannheim: “Ghent is home to a distinguished university and a great network of R&D-intensive companies, which we hope to collaborate with in the future. The people in Flanders we’ve been working with so far have all the expertise and energy needed to get our business to the top. We are really fond of the work environment and talent base in this region.”

"We see a lot of growth potential in our Ghent-based facility and will work on continuous improvement in Roeselare."  — Arturo Mannheim, CEO of AGP Group.

Eager to break the glass ceiling

AGP Group strongly believes in meritocracy: talent, skills and a winning attitude – and not tenure, race, or gender – are the main traits that fuel an individual’s success. As such, it is only logical for the company to employ a diverse workforce in Flanders, combining the talent of local workers – the vast majority – with car glass expertise from all over the world. “Complementing one another, they will turn our innovation ambitions into reality,” assures Mannheim.

We feel proud to have the government of Flanders recognize our efforts.” — Arturo Mannheim, CEO of AGP Group.

Beyond just creating new job opportunities in the region, AGP aims to make Flanders a key automotive player in Europe. Mannheim: “AGP Group will distribute innovative car glass from Flanders across the entire continent, which will significantly strengthen the region’s reputation in the sector. After all, Flanders is located in the heart of Europe – which is a pivotal region when it comes to creating better ways for people to move and interact in a cleaner, safer, smarter world.”