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Germany's Otto Group, which recently revealed it will close its U.S. molding operation, now plans to set up a joint venture to mold garbage bins in Malaysia.

The Kreuztal, Germany, firm made the 50-50 venture with Tongkah Moulding Technologies, a subsidiary of Tongkah Holdings Bbd. The venture, called Tongkah-Otto Sdn Bbd, will occupy a new building in Penang, Malaysia, next to Tongkah Moulding's custom injection molding facility.

The venture will manufacture Otto products including two- and four-wheel garbage bins. According to Otto, the deal capitalizes on Tohgkah's capabilities.

Lucien Rosier, Otto's director of international export, said Malaysia is a strategic center for commerce.

``The new factory will provide products, technology and experienced personnel to spearhead the growing market in Asia,'' he said.

Tongkah Moulding Technologies operates 55 presses from Japan Steel Works and Krauss-Maffei, with clamping forces of 50-1,300 tons, in a 215,000-square-foot plant.

The company serves the computer and audio-video markets, supplying components for computer manufacturer Acer Technologies, and Sony Mechatronics Products, a maker of floppy disk drives.

The Tongkah-Otto joint venture will operate an undisclosed number of presses in the 3,500-ton range. Production is scheduled to begin between March and June. The venture also embarked on other joint venture molding and assembly arrangements in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Otto Industries Inc. in Charlotte, N.C., last month announced plans to phase out work at its captive molding facility and farm out the work to Arkay Industries Inc., a custom molder based in Miamisburg, Ohio.