Following its ``Go East'' strategy, plastic pipe maker Pipelife International GmbH of Vienna, Austria, has formally launched its first production plant in Russia.
The new facility in the Zhukov district, southwest of Moscow, will offer the fast-growing Russian market a full range of in-house, water distribution and sewage pipes in polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC. Its initial workforce numbers 60.
Pipelife, a joint venture between Brussels, Belgium-based Solvay SA and construction materials company Weinerberger AG of Vienna, also aims to capitalize on demand from Russia's gas distribution sector.
The refurbished plant began producing PE water pipe on its first Cincinnati Extrusion line in September and a second Cincinnati line is due to turn out Pipelife's ribbed Pragma-brand PP sewer pipe, it said.
``Our plans include making full use of our two PE lines for the important Russian gas distribution sector. ... The flexible Pragma pipe systems are ideal for the busy construction and civil engineering sector [there],'' said Ype Vink, general manager at the plant.
The Russian plant is set to increase its workforce to 70 and steadily raise its annual production capacity to 32 million pounds.
Pipelife, which has served the Russian market via its Moscow sales office for five years, already supplied drainage pipe for use in the renovated 18th century Constantine Palace, used by Russian President Vladimir Putin for official summit meetings with foreign leaders, according to the company.
Pipelife operates 11 plants in central and Eastern Europe and 30 overall, employing a total of 2,800. It had annual sales in 2006 of 823 million euros ($1,034 million).