Molded luggage manufacturer Samsonite Corp. plans to start up two new joint-venture plants making polypropylene and ABS products in India and China later this year.
The two projects involve a five-year program of investments totaling more than $20 million, according to Samsonite.
The Denver firm said it expects the Chinese plant at Ningbo, near Shanghai, to begin production in May. The facility will be run by Chia Tai Samsonite Ltd., a 50-50 joint venture between Samsonite and Bangkok's CP Group, a leading Thai industrial enterprise.
The second venture, Samsonite India Ltd., has almost completed its plant at Nashik, India. That venture is a partnership between Samsonite, which owns a 60 percent stake, and Indian consumer and industrial product manufacturer Tainwala Chemicals & Plastics Ltd.
Production is due to begin there between May and July, said John Murtagh, a spokesman for Samsonite Corp. in Denver. Each plant initially will employ about 400, a figure that could grow by 50 percent within the existing facilities.
The plants are being equipped with a range of injection molding and thermoforming machines. Murtagh confirmed that one company supplying the Asian plants with injection molding equipment is Austria's Engel Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH. Engel last month opened new branch offices in Singapore and India with an eye toward further tapping the fast-growing Asian market for plastics machinery.
Murtagh said the injection presses have clamping forces as great as 1,200 tons.
Samsonite, meanwhile, also has established a marketing office in Hong Kong called Samsonite Asia Ltd. and a distribution joint venture, Samsonite Singapore Pte. Ltd., to serve Singapore and other Southeast Asia markets. The new Asian plants will serve both their respective home markets and supply others in Southeast Asia, Australasia, Africa and the Middle East.