Mecaplast expands Chinese operations

Monegasque car parts manufacturer to open 2 new factories.

Mecaplast's expansion into the Asian market is continuing. Having moved into China in 1997 with a joint venture in Wuhan, a factory and a technical department in Shanghai, the company is increasing its investment by opening two new factories in northern and southern China. The new plants will supply parts to the Chinese market, which already brings in sales of 40 million euros, a figure that the company hopes to double by 2014.

The strategy is in line with Mecaplast's recent move into India, where current turnover of 5 million euros should exceed 15 million euros by 2013, and the number of employees will increase from 40 to 100.

In contrast to Asia, the European market has been declining for some time. Things started to get difficult for the Fontvieille based auto parts manufacturer in 2007. Since then 960 jobs have been lost, although none of these were among the 166 strong production team in Monaco. Salaries and bonuses were frozen, two French factories were closed at Saint Lupicin and Le Mans, and the factory at Reims was sold. With support from the banks and the Monegasque State, Mecaplast just about managed to stay afloat, and in August 2009 it received a loan from the French Fonds de Modernisation des Equipementiers Automobiles (FMEA) which is to be repaid by 2015. However it's unlikely that the French market will have the same growth potential for Mecaplast as India or China.

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