Suzhou, China - Dutch group AkzoNobel has spent Euro 23 million ($34 million) to expand its presence in China, opening a new site to make and sell protective coatings in Suzhou, about 80 km west of Shanghai.
"China is clearly fundamental to our global strategic vision and we are committed to expanding our activities in what is one of the world's most important markets," said Leif Darner, the AkzoNobel board member responsible for Performance Coatings, at an opening ceremony on 18 Aug.
Darner noted that AkzoNobel has had a strong presence in China since the late 1980s and continues to expand its operations there. "Last year we outlined our new ambition to achieve revenues in China totalling $2000 million by 2012 and this investment will contribute in reaching this goal."
According to Marine & Protective Coatings general manager Bill McPherson, the investment in the new facility shows AkzoNobel's commitment to China. "We have developed a business plan that will allow us to increase the capacity in steps over the next ten years and eventually reach an output of 50 million litres."
McPherson also stressed the importance of investing in laboratory facilities. "We see this step as an important one to support the growth of the business and meet customer requirements," he added.
AkzoNobel's Marine & Protective Coatings unit, headquartered in London, claims to be a global leader for marine paints and anti-fouling coatings used in shipbuilding and by yacht owners. Its protective coatings include a wide range of high performance polyurethane materials.
The group makes fire-retardant products as well as protective coatings for structures such as bridges and says, "we have supplied a range of protective coatings products for some of the stadia for the Beijing Olympics."