Ind. to host Think car assembly plant
ELKHART, IND. Norwegian electric carmaker Think made it official Jan. 8 and announced it will build a new assembly plant near Elkhart.
The company already produces its plastic-body, battery-powered Think City in Uusikaupunki, Finland, at investor Valmet Automotive Inc.'s assembly plant. The new $43.5 million plant in Indiana will have capacity for 20,000 vehicles per year, with production starting in 2011, the company said in a Jan. 5 news release.
The plant will employ up to 400 people by 2013. The Oslo-based carmaker did not mention the exact site in Elkhart County, but officials there are discussing a tax abatement for a Think plant in Goshen, Ind.
Think's biggest investor, Ener1 Inc. of New York, makes lithium-ion battery packs for Think at its Indianapolis-based subsidiary EnerDel.
Ener1, Valmet and other investors brought the company out of insolvency in 2008, giving Think another lease on life. Its original owner, Pivco Industries AS, ran out of funding in the late 1990s and sold it to Ford Motor Co. It passed from Ford to a series of private investment groups.
Think boasts that its two-passenger City can travel up to 100 miles at highway speeds on a single charge. It is currently sold in Norway, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain.
Things are moving very swiftly for the company in Europe, CEO Richard Canny said. Now it's time for us to do the same in the North American market.
Fire razes plant, but Autoliv to rebuild
STOCKHOLM Auto supplier Autoliv Inc. will rebuild a steering wheel plant destroyed by fire in Tunisia within the year, even as it shifts production temporarily to France to keep deliveries on schedule.
The company recovered more than 100 molds from the rubble of the fire, which began during the Christmas holiday shutdown in El Nadhour, Tunisia, an Autoliv executive said in a Jan. 4 news release. The Stockholm-based auto safety specialist said welding work on the building sparked the blaze.
The plant makes steering wheels for 25 different European-made vehicles and accounts for 12 percent of all steering wheels for the European auto industry. Its production includes plastic molding and foam manufacturing.
Autoliv said all the equipment was destroyed, but employees extracted nearly all the vital molds and shipped them to a sister plant in Poitiers, France. That site's workers and machines helped get the tools back into commission by Jan. 4.
The company has ordered new equipment to boost production at other Autoliv sites, brought some idled machines back into use and added hours at other facilities where necessary.
About 30 employees from Tunisia are working in France temporarily, Autoliv said. Another 700 employees responsible for sewing leather-wrapped steering wheels are continuing production at a rented facility in Tunisia.
Korea's Lotte may buy Dow's Styron unit
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA Lotte Co. Ltd., a South Korean conglomerate, could buy Dow Chemical Co.'s styrenics and polycarbonate business, according to a Dow Jones report.
In July, Midland, Mich.-based Dow announced it would try to sell the business, which it dubbed Styron Corp.
Dow Jones reported that a Lotte spokesman said Jan. 7 that the company was considering buying a controlling stake in Styron. But he said the company had not made a final decision.
Seoul-based Lotte got its start making candy, but today has operations in food, hotels, retail, financial services, chemicals, electronics, construction, publishing and entertainment. Its chemical unit, Honam Petrochemical Corp. in Seoul, makes high density polyethylene, polypropylene and monoethylene glycol.
According to Dow Jones, a potential deal would be valued at between $1 billion and $2 billion.
Reliance ups offer for LyondellBasell
MUMBAI, INDIA Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd. has boosted its offer for LyondellBasell Industries AF SCA, the world's largest polyolefins maker, according to published reports. But Rotterdam, Netherlands-based LyondellBasell still might reject the offer.
LyondellBasell first acknowledged Reliance's offer Nov. 21, but terms of its offers have never been officially disclosed. The Wall Street Journal and India's Business Standard on Jan. 8 reported that the latest offer was for $13.5 billion, up from $12 billion. The stories quote unidentified sources.
The WSJ story said LyondellBasell would probably reject the offer, but Mumbai-based Reliance would have until February to make another offer.
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