TOKYO (Aug. 2)—Bridgestone Corp. will build a second steel cord plant in China in the coming 18 months at a cost of about $100 million to support its growing truck and bus tire operations there.
Bridgestone has chosen a 69-acre site in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, for the plant, which is scheduled to come on stream in January 2007. It should reach full capacity of 70 metric tons per day by year-end 2008, the firm said, with more than 260 employees.
Bridgestone has set up a wholly owned subsidiary, Bridgestone (Huizhou) Steel Cord Co. Ltd., to operate the plant. The company´s other steel cord facility in China is in Shenyang; Bridgestone operates six other steel cord plants, in Kuroiso and Saga, Japan; Clarksville, Tenn.; Cagliari, Italy; and Rayong, Thailand.
"Expanding in-house production capacity in raw materials for tires and for diversified products is a strategic priority," Bridgestone said in a release. As well as making steel tire cord globally, Bridgestone companies produce synthetic rubber in the U.S. and carbon black in Japan and Thailand and operate rubber plantations in Indonesia and Liberia.
Raw materials production strengthens Bridgestone´s ability for technological development as well as ensuring the tire maker has "reliable supplies of consistently high-quality raw materials" for its tire plants worldwide, the statement said.