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European toolmaker sets up Russian plant

By: Richard Higgs

September 24, 2012

LA SÉGUINIÈRE, FRANCE (Sept. 24, 12:50 p.m. ET) — Leading European toolmaker Shapers’ Group has established a new mold manufacturing plant at Kaluga, in the heart of Russia’s expanding western automotive industry zone.

Shapers’ Group, part of Arrk Corp., which comprises the French tooling business Arrk Tooling Sermo France and Germany’s Zimmermann Formenbau GmbH, invested 3.5 million euros ($4.5 million) to set up the Russian facility.

The firm intends to make compression molds in Kaluga, providing a range of services from model development to plastic product prototyping.

The business will repair and upgrade molding and non-molding equipment for plastics processing as well as metal forming dies.

Shapers’ Group focuses on serving the automotive sector through its six plants worldwide including facilities in La Séguinière; Gladenbach, Germany; Bydgoszcz, Poland; Wuhan, China, and Pune, India. The group also has partnerships in North America, Portugal and China.

With 900 employees worldwide, Shapers’ Group achieved annual sales of 85 million euros ($109 million) and produces around 550 molds per year.

Zimmermann and Sermo were originally acquired by Japan’s Arrk Group in 2005 via its offshoot Arrk Product Development Group. Two years later, the companies created a joint venture in Wuhan, and in 2009 the two mold making firms came together to form Shapers’ Group.