French automotive parts supplier Novares Group SA has opened its first production plant in North Africa, in Kenitra, Morocco.
The move is part of Novares' global expansion strategy, which has seen the company opening new plants in Mexico and Romania as well as committing to a 50 million euro ($57.6 million) investment in advanced technologies during the past year.
The former Mecaplast-Key Plastics, which rebranded as Novares a year ago, said the new factory in Kenitra is about 10 miles from a newly-opened PSA Peugeot facility in the region and close to the Renault production plant in Tangier.
The 10,700-square-meter facility produces complete assemblies for automotive customers using plastic injection molding with clear coat paint.
Equipped with a paint and clear coat application line, the facility manufactures engine components such as air filters and acoustic covers, along with exterior parts including pillars, mudguards, roof bars and under covers and instrument panels components.
The unit currently has 70 employees but the figure is set to increase to 140 in 2019, and up to a total of 225 employees by 2020.
Novares expects the Moroccan subsidiary will represent approximately 3 percent of global sales. Novares posted 1.2 billion euros ($1.38 billion) in sales in 2016.
Novares did not disclose the investment size in the new plant but said it received funds from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is actively supporting the automotive sector in Morocco.
Speaking during the Sept. 18 opening ceremony, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, the Moroccan minister of industry, commerce, investment and the digital economy, said the new plant contributed to the development of the automotive plastic industry as it involved “a complete chain, from plastic injection to the delivery of the finished product.”
“With this third plant opening in a year, we affirm our growth strategy and expansion ambition, because we believe global proximity is what our customers request,” Novares CEO Pierre Boulet said.