Bridgestone Confirms Brazil Investment
Bridgestone Corporation has announced that it will invest $160 million in building a new tyre plant. The news follows initial reports from Brazilian newspaper and the Associate Press news agency that the Japanese company was planning to spend $700 million on the project. Confirming parts of the reports, the company said Bridgestone Firestone Brasil, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc, would build the plant in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Construction will begin in 2005, and plans call for the plant to begin production in the second half of 2006.
According to the company, Bridgestone Firestone Brazil’s new plant will produce tyres for passenger cars and light trucks. The company says the new plant will have an initial production capacity of about 8,000 tyres a day. It will utilise state of the art production technologies and is expected to create more than 500 new manufacturing jobs and 1,200 indirect jobs in the region. The projects will increase BFBR’s capacity by roughly 25 per cent the company said.
Brazilian car production reached 2,020,704 vehicles for the period between January and November, up 20.8 per cent from the first 11 months of 2003, reflecting the country’s robust recovery from a sluggish 2003, when the economy grew less than 1 per cent. The auto industry’s trade association is predicting an output of 2.2 million vehicles by the end of 2004.
Referring to the $160 million expansion plans, Jorge Gonzalez, president, Bridgestone Firestone Latin American Operations, said: “This substantial new investment is evidence of our optimism in the strength of the Brazilian economy and our belief in our Brazilian team-mates.” Earlier reports which, were later found to be inaccurate, had suggested that the company would be willing to invest an even greater amount.