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Bekaert to invest in Russia

To strengthen its existing position in Russia, the world’s largest maker of steel cord used in tires Belgium-based Bekaert, intends to invest in a new steel cord production plant in the Lipetsk.

This investment of more than €97 million ($140 million) will take place in phases over the period 2008–2013. The first phase is scheduled to enter production in 2010. Bekaert’s commitment will be underlined by the presence later this month of a delegation headed by Chairman Baron Paul Buysse and CEO Bert De Graeve at an official inaugural event for new investors in the Lipetsk region, which will also be attended by high-level Russian officials. With this new investment, Bekaert is responding to the rising local demand for steel cord products for tire reinforcement generated by Russia’s rapid economic growth. The Lipetsk region, about 400 kilometers south of Moscow, is strategically located close to the target markets, with good logistics, good access to energy supplies and a skilled labor force. Bekaert already has a portfolio of customers in Russia for steel cord products for tire reinforcement, steel fibers for concrete reinforcement and other specialized wire products. Bekaert’s Russian customers are currently being supplied by its plants in Central Europe.

Baron Paul Buysse, Chairman of Bekaert’s Board of Directors, commented: “Expanding our position in Russia is entirely consistent with Bekaert’s strategy of sustainable profitable growth. The decision to set up our own production platform in Russia is proof of Bekaert’s faith in the long-term potential of this country. Local production will enable Bekaert effectively to meet the rapidly growing demand for top-quality products.” (azom.com)