NZ giant to open 2nd China laminates plant

WELLINGTON -- New Zealand-based construction materials giant Fletcher Building Ltd on Sept 27 announced it is to build a new laminates plant in China through its Formica Group unit.

Formica, which designs and manufactures laminates, would build its second China factory in Jiujiang, a city of about 4.8 million people in Jiangxi province, said a statement from the company.

The facility, one of the largest plants within the Formica group, would double the company's capacity in China, allowing it to meet growing market demand, said the statement.

"The commercial construction boom, coupled with the massive construction of government-subsidized housing projects, has accelerated the demand for laminate," said Formica president and chief executive Mark Adamson.

"The Chinese market already twice the size of the United States market continues to grow by 15 percent a year."

Slated for completion in 2013, the Jiujiang plant would produce high-pressure laminate for China and other Asian markets, said the statement.

Employing about 400 people and covering more than 46,451 square meters, the facility would be built to allow for future growth.

Adamson said the Formica Group had prepared for growth, despite the world economic situation, by restructuring on a global level.

"We've readied the business from an operational standpoint," he said, adding the company was confident of the future of the laminate industry in the world's largest market.

The Jiujiang plant will be Formica's 11th manufacturing facility worldwide. The Formica Group employs more than 3,200 people in Asia, Europe and North America.

Based in Auckland, Fletcher Building is listed on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges.

Last month, the company reported a net profit of NZ$283 million ($221.25 million) in the year to June, up from NZ$272 million the previous year.

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