Automotive plastic parts producer Plastic Omnium will invest around 50 million euros ($52.5 million) in a major expansion project in Slovakia to supply the new Jaguar Land Rover assembly plant at Nitra, Slovakia.
The processor is planning to build two new manufacturing halls at its Hlohovec site in southwestern Slovakia with the creation of 500 new jobs. Today, the site employs just 165.
The first production unit of 17,000 square meter is scheduled to come on stream this year and the second building of 22,000 square meters and a coating line should be in operation by 2020, according to the local city authority.
Hlohovec plant, which already produces car bumpers for automotive groups including PSA Peugeot Citroënand Skoda, has been run by Plastic Omnium since July 2016 when it was acquired from fellow French auto parts maker Faurecia SA.
This was part of a 665 million euro ($700 million) deal between the groups which saw Plastic Omnium take over Faurecia's Auto Exteriors business producing vehicle bumpers and front-end modules. That included 22 plants in Germany, France, Spain, Slovakia and the Americas, though the European Commission only sanctioned the merger if PO agreed to dispose of seven acquired plants.
These plants include four bumper production units in France, one in Spain and two front end module operations in Germany.
Jaguar Land Rover has begun construction of its planned 300,000-square-meter vehicle assembly plant at Nitra. The facility, due to start up in late 2018, is set to turn out 150,000 vehicles a year and will employ 2,800 at the site.
Several other European plastics component suppliers expect to serve the new factory and are expanding or setting up their own plants nearby in Slovakia. They include other French owned molders Bourbon Automotive Plastics, part of Groupe Plastivaloire, which is growing its capacity at Čab and Steep Plastique, expanding its Nitra plant.
Paris-based Plastic Omnium already runs two exterior auto component plants in Slovakia at Trnava and at Lozorno where it also opened and later expanded a research and development centre.
The R&D unit, with 300 square meters of laboratories and 1,300 square meters of office space, an international team of more than 110 engineers and technicians. It provides support services for developing automotive projects such as computer aided design, product engineering and quality control.