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Brighter, lighter future for parts supplier

Auto parts supplier Georg Fischer Automotive expects a minimum 50 percent higher turnover in China this year and wants to double it by next year.

Josef Edbauer, president of GF Automotive, said the business would remain robust as China's auto industry continues to grow. Efforts to reduce vehicle weight also helped increase demand for lighter metal components.

The Switzerland-based manufacturer gained 30 million euros (US$41 million) in revenue in China last year. It's worldwide revenue was 1.4 billion euros after a fourth-quarter slump in the European market.

"The growth in China's auto industry, even if there is a slowdown, is still much higher than many other countries," said Yves Serra, president and chief executive of Georg Fischer Ltd, GF Automotive's parent.

The company has increased its investment in China to meet more demand. It opened a plant in Suzhou in 2005 to make aluminum and magnesium parts and now has seven die-casting machines.

Zhang Mujia, its general manager, said another eight to 10 machines would be installed to cater for demand.

GF Automotive invested 30 million euros in a new iron foundry in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, this month. The plant, which produces iron components, will have an annual capacity of 35,000 tons to 50,000 tons.

Another four lines are due to be set up, boosting its total capacity to 200,000 tons in the future.

Last year, Georg Fischer Ltd's sales in China totaled 2.2 billion yuan with China contributing 7 percent of its worldwide turnover.

The company aims to lift China's proportion to 10 percent by 2010.


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