July 30, 2019 / 10:24 AM / 7 months ago

Japan's Toyo Tire to open factory in Serbia

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic speaks in the Serbian Parliament in Belgrade, Serbia, May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Japan’s Toyo Tire (5105.T) plans to open a production facility in Serbia in a 390 million euro (357.2 million pounds) investment deal that would boost Balkan country’s revenues, Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday.

To boost revenues and cut debt Serbia has sought foreign investments, which in 2018 amounted to 3.2 billion euros.

Toyo Tire (5105.T) which has 13,000 employees worldwide, will produce automotive tyres in the town of Indjija, just north of the capital Belgrade. It is expected to hire a workforce of more than 500 people, Vucic told a news conference.

“After three years of negotiations ... I received an official letter from Takashi Shimizo, the president of the company, (saying) that Toyo Corporation picked Serbia as an investment destination,” Vucic said.

In a statement, Toyo Tire said the Indjija plant would supply European and Russian markets, which are currently serviced by plants in Japan and Malaysia.

“As of 2022, the new manufacturing base in Serbia will take on a key role in this regard,” it said.

Construction of the factory, which will cover 60 hectares, will begin in May 2020. Manufacturing is expected to start in 2022, with a capacity of five million tires annually by summer 2023, Toyo Tire said.

In the first quarter of 2019, Toyo Tire reported net profit of 5.64 billion yen (42.7 million pounds) and last month it announced it ramped up capacity at its United States-based subsidiary.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Louise Heavens and Kirsten Donovan

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