GURGAON, India (Jan. 16, 2008) - India´s Apollo Tyres Ltd. plans to acquire nearly 125 acres of land in Hungary for a $296 million radial passenger tire plant that could be on stream in as little as 18 months.
The plant, which would serve both the European and North American markets, would have an initial capacity of 7 million tires a year, according to Apollo Chairman and Managing Director Onkar Kanwar, who disclosed his company´s intentions at a Hungarian Partnership Summit in Gurgaon.
Apollo and Hungarian officials identified Gyongyos, near Budapest, as the most likely site for the plant, which would be the fifth tire factory in Hungary. Apollo said there could be a ground-breaking ceremony at the site early this coming financial year.
Apollo has been evaluating various options for a European manufacturing hub for the past nine months and said Hungary was one of the front runners from the beginning of the evaluation process.
"This.facility.will become our hub to service our passenger car radial customers in Europe and North America," Mr. Kanwar said. "This is a key investment in our global strategy."
"We are very keen to have Apollo set up its first greenfield manufacturing unit, outside India, in Hungary," said Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. "Apollo will bring to Hungary its world class manufacturing expertise, technology and people management skills."
Apollo is among the world´s 15 largest tire companies with sales of nearly $1 billion. It has plants in India and South Africa.
The other tire plants in Hungary are operated by Groupe Michelin-two plants originally built by Taurus Group-and Hankook Tire Co. Ltd., which opened its plant just last summer. Bridgestone Corp. is building a plant due on stream this year.