By Liz White, ERJ staff
Tokyo-Bridgestone Corp. is to spend about $100 million (Euro 82 million) to build a second plant in China making steel cord for radial truck and bus tyres.
The plant, at Huizhou in Guangdong Province, will be the Japanese tyre maker's latest measure to serve the surging demand for tyres in China,â€ Bridgestone announced 2 Aug. It also fits with the group's core strategy of expanding its internal capacity for raw materials, Bridgestone's statement said.
The group has already set up a wholly owned subsidiary-Bridgestone (Huizhou) Steel Cord Co. Ltd-to operate the plant, following approval by Huizhou City officials.
The Huizhou plant, on a 28-hectare site, is scheduled to begin production in January 2007 with production reaching 70 tonnes a day by the end of 2008. At full production the plant will employ over 250 people.
Bridgestone said the unit will mainly supply steel cord to the group's truck and bus tyre plant at Shenyang in China.
The Chinese unit will be the Bridgestone Group's seventh steel cord plant worldwide and its second in China. Other Bridgestone steel cord facilities are at Kuroiso and Saga in Japan, at Clarksville in Ohio, Cagliari in Italy, Rayong in Thailand and Shenyang in China.
Expanding in-house production capacity in raw materials for tyres and for diversified products is a strategic priority,â€ Bridgestone said. As well as making steel tyre cord globally, Bridgestone companies produce synthetic rubber in the US and carbon black in Japan and Thailand, as well as operating rubber plantations in Indonesia and in Liberia.
Raw materials production strengthens Bridgestone ability for technological development as well as ensuring the tyre maker has reliable supplies of consistently high-quality raw materialsâ€ for its tyre plants worldwide, the statement added.