Italy's Radici Novacips SpA, a subsidiary of RadiciGroup, opened its first production facility in Suzhou in April.
The wholly owned entity, called RadiciPlastics (Suzhou) Co. Ltd., will offer nylon and polyester compounds to customers in the automotive and electronics industries.
``We will support global companies with production facilities in China, mainly in the automotive industry,'' said Cesare Clausi, global account manager of the plastics unit, during a telephone interview.
Supplying materials to Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers is one of the reasons Radici Novacips wanted to open a facility in China, he added.
The company said it expects sales of nylon compounds to average around 13 percent annually through 2008.
The electrical and electronic components sector provides a second area of demand for engineering plastics in the Chinese market.
At full capacity, the 140,000-square-foot facility near Shanghai will produce 22 million pounds of engineering plastics per year. Now the facility has two Coperion compounding extrusion lines and about 30 employees, said Clausi. The company plans to be at full capacity and employ 40 by the end of the year.
``The Suzhou plant is an important step not only for Radici Novacips, but also for the entire group,'' said Maurizio Radici, vice president of RadiciGroup. ``The Chinese market is, in fact, an extremely attractive market with great potential, capable of drawing future investment related to other RadiciGroup business areas, such as chemicals, synthetic fibers and textiles.''
Radici Group has 45 production and sales units and about 4,600 employees worldwide. Its consolidated total sales for 2006 were $1.49 billion.
Radici is based in Bergamo, Italy.