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Hungary's Ples & Venezuela to build $223 mln plant

Ples Zrt, a Hungarian company that produces wheels for trucks and buses, plans to build a 478 billion venezuelan bolivar ($223 million) car parts factory in Venezuela as car sales in the South American country soar. Ples will hold a 70% stake in the venture, with the remainder being held by Venezuela's heavy industries holding company Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana, the country's Heavy Industries and Mining Ministry said in a statement. The two sides signed a preliminary agreement, the ministry said. The company will manufacture aluminum parts for car and truck motors, the ministry said. No start-up date was disclosed. Venezuelan automobile sales rose 41% in the first seven months of the year to 166,142 units as increased government spending helped the economy expand. Sales rose to a record 228,378 units last year. Ples, being the only manufacturer of steel wheels for commercial vehicles in Hungary and also in the central European area, the role played by the company on the market of steel wheels for trucks, buses and trailers shows an ever growing importance. Ples has its headquarters in Budapest, while factory works in Borsodnádasd, 150 kilometers north-east from the capital. The tradition of steel manufacturing in Borsodnádasd goes back to the late 1870’s, when the production of different kinds of steel parts was started there. The production of three parts wheel rims with the matching spacer rings began in 1968, while disc wheels have been manufactured since 1988. (Bloomberg,