“China continues to be one of the most important emerging markets for the Coatings group and this investment underlines our ongoing commitment to establish a significant presence there for all our key businesses,” said Rudy van der Meer, Member of Akzo Nobel’s Board of Management responsible for Coatings. “Akzo Nobel has been selling decorative paints in China under the Levis® brand for nearly five years and this has enabled us to establish a solid foothold in this fast-expanding market. We now need a new facility to further grow the business.”
The Levis paint sold in China is currently manufactured in eastern Shanghai, but production will switch to the Suzhou facility once construction is complete. “Our decision to invest in a new factory in Suzhou shows our commitment to and belief in the Chinese paint market,” explained Jan Andersson, General Manager of Akzo Nobel Decorative Coatings International. “It will give us the platform to help expand our activities.”
Construction work on the factory is scheduled to begin by the end of the year. The new facility is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2005. The 2,200 m2 factory will include R&D facilities, while a 2,900 m2 warehouse for raw materials and finished goods will also be built.
Akzo Nobel Coatings already operates six production sites in China, housing all the key businesses. One major operation is a 50-50 joint venture, all the others are majority or wholly owned. They are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Shenzen, Ningbo and Dongguan City. The Coatings group, which employs more than 1,600 people in China, has seen its sales increase in this market to well over EUR 200 million in 2002, stemming from organic growth and selective acquisitions.
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