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Trefilarbed plans €20 mln expansion at steel cord plant

Trefilarbed, the steel cord unit of steel giant Arcelor, plans to spend €20  million to start producing material for the steel cords and also to double production at its Hungarian steel cord making unit in order to supply South Korean tyre maker Hankook's new plant in Dunaújváros, south of Budapest, as well as the Bridgestone plant in Tatabánya, north Hungary, business daily Napi Gazdaság reported on Tuesday. An official at Trefilarbed Hungary confirmed for Napi Gazdaság that a final decision on the investment has already been made. Trefilarbed has started talks with both tyre makers, and it has obtained all of the necessary permits from the authorities, the official said. The project, to be carried out in several phases, will nearly double the plant's capacity for steel cord used in tyres from 11,000 tonnes a year to 20,000 tonnes. Already this year, the plant will boost its output to 15,000 tonnes. Trefilarbed will spend €13 million on the project this year, €5 million next year and €2 million in 2008. Some € 11-12  million of the total will be spent on building a plant to make the raw materials for the steel cord. The Hungarian unit currently buys its raw materials from the parent company's units in Austria and Luxembourg, but work on the plant has already started. When the project is completed, Trefilarbed Hungary will raise its number of employees from 180 to 280. Trefilarbed supplies Michelin, Continental, Goodyear, Taurus and Sava. Including the current programme, Trefilarbed is to spend €40 million on various developments in Hungary.