22 November 2005  Bekaert moves on in China

After the recent inauguration of its new production facility for advanced materials and coatings in Suzhou (Jiangsu Province), Bekaert also wants to further expand its activities in advanced wire products in China. The sustained growth of the market and Bekaert’s determination to continue to play a leading role as a worldwide top quality supplier to its local and international customers in China requires the company to further invest.

With the decision taken in May 2003, Bekaert increased its production capacity for steel cord products for tire reinforcement in China up to 120 000 tonnes annually. This investment program raised Bekaert’s annual consolidated capital expenditures for 2004-2005 to approximately € 160 million and involved the construction of a new plant in Weihai (Shandong Province) and the expansion of the plants in Jiangyin (Jiangsu Province) and in Shenyang (Liaoning Province).

In order to cooperate closely with its Chinese customers and enhance the development of high quality tires, Bekaert has already established a leading edge technical center in Jiangyin. In the last years, a portfolio of innovative new steel cord products is being developed for the specific needs of the Chinese truck tire industry and an increased demand for these products has already been witnessed.

Bekaert will further expand the capabilities of its technical center in order to fully support the customers. Bekaert also wants to strengthen the strong ties with its customers and suppliers and recently opened a new training and meeting center close to the technical center in Jiangyin. The company also donated advanced laboratory equipment to the Materials Research and Test Center of the China Rubber Industry Association in Beijing, which plays an important role in the standardization of testing procedures and the comparisons of materials used in the rubber reinforcement industry.

In Shenyang, Bekaert completed its additional production capacity for steel cord reinforcement in “off the road” tires. Bekaert has anticipated the shortage in these tires and is ready to serve the Chinese market.   

With its plants in Jiangyin, Shanghai and Wuxi, Bekaert is also extending market positions in its other advanced wire products. 

Bekaert is now working on the implementation of a further increase of its production capacity in China by at least 50%. This new investment program will also increase the activity level of the engineering department in Jiangyin which acts as an important equipment supplier. The total investment amount will be in line with previous programs in China.