LONDON (Feb. 27)—Tomkins P.L.C. has broken ground on an industrial power transmission belt plant in Suzhou, China, near to an existing joint venture belt factory that will focus solely on automotive belts in the future.
Tomkins and Japan's Nitta Corp. have budgeted $80 million to build the facility on the grounds of Gates Nitta Belt Co. (Suzhou) Ltd., their 7-year-old belting joint venture. That plant has been expanded twice during that time, Tomkins said, and is running at full capacity.
Tomkins did not disclose the expected start-up of the new factory or its initial capacity or employment.
Tomkins said the conversion of Gates Nitta Belt to automotive belt production will allow the venture to keep pace with the expanding Chinese automotive industry, Tomkins said, noting that vehicle sales there are expected to double from the 2003 level by 2005 and triple by 2010. Tomkins claims Gates Nitta Belt is the leading player in the Chinese power transmission sector.