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Guardian forms joint venture to serve automotive retail glass market

Post Time:Sep 22,2010Classify:Industry NewsView:91

Guardian Industries, Auburn Hills, Mich., and LRST LLC formed a new joint venture company to manage and grow the retail auto glass business of Guardian, according to a Sept. 22 release. The new joint venture will be named Guardian Auto Glass LLC. Guardian currently has a strong foothold in the retail auto glass industry in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Virginia, Indiana and Florida, according to the release.LRST LLC is an entity formed by equal partners Jim Latch, Jerry Ray, Neil Smith and Marc Talbert, all of whomhave extensive automotive aftermarket experience. Guardian will have the majority ownership in the new Guardian Auto Glass joint venture company.

Guardian is vertically integrated in the auto glass industry and is the largest U.S.-based producer of float glass, according to the release. Within the auto glass industry, Guardian is one of the largest original equipment producers in the U.S., as well as being a major supplier to the aftermarket, company officials state.

“We see the new joint venture enhancing Guardian’s current operations as well as key in developing a nationwide presence,” said Mike Morrison, president of Guardian's Automotive Group, in the release.“Guardian is focusing on growing all its businesses and we anticipate greater and stronger opportunities in the automotive retail glass (ARG) segment as a result of this strategic decision.”

LRST partners will manage and operateGuardian Auto. Latch and Talbert have held executive positions at PPG and/or PGW and bring extensive ARG management and operational experience to the new company. Latch led the creation of LYNX Services and had responsibility for PPG’s ARG distribution and services business.Talbert was president of PPG Auto Glass and had responsibility for PGW’s ARG distribution business.Ray and Smith were two of the founders and owners of the 34-store GlasPro/Elite retail business that was purchased by Belron in 2005.They previously partnered in the formation of Western Windshields, a West Coast auto glass distribution business.Latch will be president and managing partner of the new company with Ray, Smith and Talbert all holding titles of vice president and managing partner.

Guardian Auto has developed an entrepreneurial business model that utilizes local ownership and involvement.

“The joint venture brings focus on growing the business with a local ownership model,” Latch said in the release. “Local ownership combined with a national presence will enhance our service to our customers.”

Guardian Auto is seeking individuals who are interested in pursuing opportunities as partners in growing businesses within their markets. All inquiries will be treated confidentially and should be directed to LRST@Guardian.com.

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Source: http://www.glassmagazine.com/news-item/auto/guardian-forms-joint-venture-serve-automotive-retail-glass-market-106810Author:

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