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Bridgestone seen planning $11 billion investment

Japan’s Bridgestone will invest more than $11 billion over five years to boost production as it vies with France’s Michelin for the title of the world’s top tyremaker, a report said Saturday.

The Japanese group plans to spend 1.3 trillion yen ($11.2 billion) for five years from April 2008, up 20% from the preceding five years, the Nikkei daily said. The group’s capital spending will increase as it puts new factories into operation in Mexico, Poland and Hungary during the five-year period while expanding existing plants in India and Indonesia, it said. In August, Bridgestone announced it would invest nearly 200 million dollars to expand tyre factories in India, where more motorists are taking to the road, and into a production hub Indonesia. The Nikkei said Bridgestone was also considering building a new factory in Russia. No immediate comment on the report was available from Bridgestone on Saturday.

The Nikkei said the investment would be the pillar of the group’s new mid-term management plan. Bridgestone is scheduled to unveil a mid-term business plan on Monday. (