28 November 2006  Bekaert to invest € 18 million in Zwevegem (Belgium)

Bekaert today has announced an investment of € 18 million in its manufacturing facility for advanced wire products in Zwevegem (Belgium). The company is streamlining its activities in fiber technologies and will expand its production capacity in order to further strengthen its market leadership.

Henri-Jean Velge, Group Executive Vice President, stated: “With this investment in Zwevegem we will pursue our sustainable profitable growth in applications based on stainless steel wires, and thus better serve our customers in these rapidly growing markets. We want to further extend our technological leadership in this area and concentrate even more on products with a higher added value.”

Using its technological strengths in the area of advanced metal transformation, Bekaert is able to process wire rod from stainless steel into ultra thin metal fibres. These fibres can have a thickness as fine as 1/50th of a human hair. They are then processed into all kinds of specialized applications in textiles, filtration and conductive plastics.

As a function of the market demand, the production activity is divided over the sites in the different regions in order to be able to supply the customers as efficiently as possible.

Although this specific investment will create virtually no new jobs, for its Zwevegem site in the short term the company is looking for over twenty production employees, and it is anticipating several dozen job openings in 2007 as well.