KORTRIJK, Belgium (May 19)—N.V. Bekaert S.A. will build a third steel cord plant in China by year-end 2005 as part of a plan to double the firm's annual cord capacity there to about 100,000 metric tons. The company, the largest independent supplier of steel tire cord globally, has budgeted between $207 million and $230 million for the project, which also will include boosting output at the two existing plants in Jiangyin and Shenyang. The new factory, to be built in northeast Shandong province, will have an initial annual capacity of 10,000 tons. Bekaert claims a 40-percent share of the Chinese steel tire cord market. Demand for steel cord is expected to double in the coming three to four years, Bekaert said, due to a combination of economic growth and the continuing radialization of the industry.