Germany’s Leoni AG reports that the company’s new plant in Kraljevo, which represents its fourth plant in Serbia, should be ready to start ramping up production of wiring systems for Mercedes by the end of January.
A press release said that the 60 million euro investment in Kraljevo is being made in steps, and that the current stage accounts for 6,500 sq m of production space, with some 150 engineers, technicians and workers in the production. The site will not be fully completed until the end of the first quarter of 2020, at which time the plant will be 45,000 sq m. By 2023, it should be in full capacity, employing around 5,000 workers.
The release said that plant, described as the first new one built in Kraljevo in 30 years, will be the company’s largest plant in Serbia. Leoni has been operating in Serbia since 2009, when the German-based company opened its first factory in Prokuplje. In 2014, a factory was opened in Malosiste and in 2017, one in Nis. All the plants manufacture wiring systems for producers of premium cars.
Since setting up its business, Leoni Serbia, in 2009, the company has invested approximately 90 million euros in its facilities, machinery and staff training, the release said. It currently employs around 6,000 people in the country, and once the Kraljevo plant is at full capacity it should have 10,000 workers, at which point Leoni expects to be the largest manufacturing-industry employer in Serbia.
"Serbia has great potential from the human capital point of view and a work culture and ethics that we really appreciate," the release. Over the past 10 years, more than 52 million euros in taxes and contributions have been made to the Republic of Serbia. "We are pleased to be developing our business in Serbia further."
Of note, Leoni AG this year is scheduled to see the opening of a new plant it announced last June in Bulgaria. That plant, which would bring 2,000 jobs to the northern city of Pleven in Bulgaria, would cost an estimated €32 million investment. The plant would be Leoni’s first in the country. It is scheduled to be fully operational by 2020, according to one report citing Bulgaria’s Economy Ministry.
South Korea’s LS Group held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 15 in Serbia, where it is investing $23 milllion to to build the plant, which it said is designed to produce 12,000 metric tons of magnet wire a year.
Per a report in The Korea Herald, LS Group Chairman Christopher Koo spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony of the magnet wire plant, which is located in Zrenjanin, some 90 km south of the Serbian capital in Serbia. The plant was described as the latest investment by the LS Group, which launched an electric car parts plant in Poland and a solar power plant in Japan.
LS Group Chairman Christopher Koo said the conglomerate’s Serbian investment is a part of growth strategy, and is expecting the Serbian plant to become the production center for its east European operation. It is scheduled to start commercial production in 2019.
The LS Group notes that its U.S. affiliate, Superior Essex, one of the world's largest wire and cable manufacturers, generated $2 billion in sales last year. It is the sole magnet wire supplier to U.S. electric vehicle producer Tesla.