By Patrick Raleigh ERJ On-line news editor
Kortrijk, Belgium-Bekaert has officially inaugurated its first steel cord plant in India-a 5000-tonne/year facility in Pune, south of Mumbai. The plant, operated by Bekaert Industries Pvt Ltd, supplies radial tyre reinforcement products to most tyre makers in India, the Belgian group said 4 Feb.
The Pune facility is the latest component of Bekaert's expansion plan in Asia, which is focused heavily on China. The group also operates a steel cord plant in Indonesia.
Bekaert regards India's growing radial tyre industry as an important market for the future, according to Marc Vandecasteele, group executive vice-president, in a press statement.
â€œThanks to the important investments in the Indian infrastructure, car sales are increasing rapidly and there is a systematic changeover from diagonal to radial tyres for trucks as well as for passenger cars,â€ he commented.
Bekaert is, meanwhile, investing Euro180-200-million in China to expand two existing steel cord plants-in Jiangyin and Shenyang-and establish a third unit, in Weihai, by the end of 2004. These three projects will raise Bekaert's annual steel cord capacity in China to 120 kilotonnes, the group said.
For 2003, Bekaert posted a 30-percent year-on-year rise in sales of steel cord products in China. The increase reflected on-going growth in China's radial tyre market, in-line with massive investment in the country's road infrastructure, said a group spokeswoman.
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