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Guardian Forms JV to Serve Automotive Retail Glass Market

September 22, 2010--Guardian Industries (“Guardian”) and LRST, LLC announced today the formation of a new joint venture company to manage and grow the retail auto glass business of Guardian. The new JV will be named Guardian Auto Glass, LLC. (“Guardian Auto”) Guardian currently has a strong foothold in the retail auto glass industry in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Virginia, Indiana and Florida. LRST, LLC is an entity formed by equal partners Jim Latch, Jerry Ray, Neil Smith and Marc Talbert, all with extensive automotive aftermarket experience. Guardian will have the majority ownership in the new Guardian Auto joint venture company

Guardian is vertically integrated in the auto glass industry and is the largest U.S.-based producer of float glass. Within the auto glass industry, Guardian is one of the largest OE producers in the U.S. as well as being a major supplier to the aftermarket.

“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. “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.”

With the formation of Guardian Auto, this new retail joint venture will be managed and operated by the LRST partners. Mr. Latch and Mr. Talbert have held executive positions at PPG and/or PGW and bring extensive ARG management and operational experience to the new company. Mr. Latch led the creation of LYNX Services and had responsibility for PPG’s ARG distribution and services business. Mr. Talbert was president of PPG Auto Glass and had responsibility for PGW’s ARG distribution business. Mr. Ray and Mr. 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. Mr. Latch will be president and managing partner of the new company with Mr. Ray, Mr. Smith and Mr. 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,” said Jim Latch. “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.

Guardian Automotive provides automotive solutions to the major original equipment manufacturers (OEM) as well as the automotive aftermarket. It is known as an innovative leader in laminated and tempered glass products with proven quality, advanced capabilities, technology and financial stability. It manufactures a variety of glass products for the auto industry including SMG solar management glass, tints such as PrivaGuard as well as TwiliteGray and MidniteGray privacy glass, and the innovative Guardian SilverGuard Infrared Resistent (IRR) coated glass technology used in windshields that keep passengers more comfortable by blocking our heat from the sun. Guardian Automotive is a subsidiary of Guardian Industries, a diversified global manufacturing company headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, with leading positions in float glass, fabricated glass products, fiberglass insulation and other building materials for commercial, residential and automotive markets.

EcoGuard and SilverGuard are registered trademarks of Guardian Industries Corp. TwiliteGray and MidniteGray are trademarks of Guardian Industries Corp.

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