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BELGRADE (Serbia), July 30 (SeeNews) - Japanese company Toyo Tire Corporation plans to build a factory in Serbia's Indjija, investing 390 million euro ($434.7 million) in the first phase of the project, president Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday.
The factory will have 539 employees in the first phase, Vucic said during a news conference broadcast live by public TV channel RTS.
Toyo Tire plans to begin construction of the production plant in Serbia in May 2020, and initiate tire manufacturing operations in January 2022, with capacity projected to reach five million tires per year by the summer of 2023, the Japanese company said in a separate statement on Tuesday.
"Internet of Things (IoT) will be fully installed at this plant, which will operate as a sophisticated smart factory. Toyo will take on the challenge for a new level of competitive manufacturing, while achieving high quality at low cost and plan to supply differentiated and highly added value products for luxury passenger vehicles and light trucks within and outside the European market," Toyo Tires said.
Serbia complies with all requirements for Toyo Tire, given its outstanding resource of highly skilled workforce but comparatively low wage, integration of automotive industries due to ongoing investment by foreign companies, and a blossoming relationship with Japan, the company said.
"Toyo Tire is supplying tires for the European and Russian market from factories in Japan and Malaysia. As of 2022, the new manufacturing base in Serbia will take on a key role in this regard."
In September 2019, Toyo Tire will establish a Serbian subsidiary, based in Belgrade, with a capital of 160 million euro, which will be active in the manufacturing and sales of radial tires for passenger vehicles and light trucks, the Japanese investor said.
"After three years of negotiations and competition with many countries in central, eastern and southern Europe, only two countries remained in the race for the Japanese investor, Poland and Serbia. A few minutes ago, I received an official letter from the president of the company, Takashi Shimizu, that Toyo Corporation has picked Serbia as an investment destination," Vucic said during the news conference.
The construction of the factory, which will spread on an area of 60 hectares, will begin in the coming months.
"The letter says that they think this is not the end of our cooperation, as they have ideas on how to expand the business," , Vucic said.
Toyo Tire Corporation will produce premium tires in Indjija and will pay salaries that are significantly above average, Vucic said.
The Japanese company, established in 1945 in Osaka, has a total of 13,000 employees worldwide.
($ = 0.8972 euro)