01 September 2003 18:53 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--British Vita’s new cellular polymers plant in Hungary should be operational by the third quarter of 2004, the firm’s chief executive David Campbell told CNI on Monday.
Campbell, however, declined to disclose the capacity of the new plant due to begin construction in Paks, south west Hungary, though he did add that it would supply the expanding furniture market in eastern Europe.
“Our guys are being bullish in setting up capacity,” he said. Land has been purchased and the company is waiting for permits.
Eastern Europe, where the UK firm's sales in 2002 amounted to just over £37m (about $58.5m/Euro53.3m). Hungary, in particular, is seen as a key target for organic growth for the company’s cellular polymers division, Campbell said. The Paks plant is to serve local customers as well as those in Lithuania and former Yugoslavia.
British Vita already has two plants in Poland and one in Lithuania making the Hungarian plant its fourth manufacturing venture in eastern European. Campbell disclosed that he may consider a fifth plant, but gave no further details.
Apart from eastern Europe, Campbell said he was also keeping his eyes on the Far East as manufacturers like Dyson move their manufacturing bases to the region. British Vita’s new compounding facility in Malaysia, near Jhor Bahru, which started up in the first quarter , represents the firm’s first foot in the industrial polymers market in the Far East, with an initial investment of £1.33m. Campbell said he expects the plant to come into profit by the end of this year.
Organic growth will also come from thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) in the UK and Sweden where new lines have increased existing capacity and from nonwovens in the US from a $6m new production facility in Indiana.
Campbell said he did not want to forecast too far ahead but said he felt confident British Vita had increased capacity where he thought demand would increase while reducing exposure in other areas, such as Germany.
"I’m happy we’re not going to be caught out when demand increases,” he said.
British Vita posted its first half results earlier today.
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