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Hyundai Motor Czech CEO Kim Joon-ha (from left), Korean Ambassador to Czech Republic Moon Ha-young, GS Caltex CEO and vice chairman Huh Jin-soo, and Karvina Mayor Tomas Hanzel cut the ribbon at the Korean refiner’s new compounded resin plant in Karvina, Czech Republic, Thursday. (GS Caltex)

GS Caltex, the flagship unit of GS Group, said Friday it completed a new compounded resin production plant in the Czech Republic that is capable of producing an annual 30,000 tons of the material.

The nation’s second-largest oil refiner entered the European compounded resin market in July 2011 ? a first for a Korean company ? and established its sales unit, GS Caltex Czech, in the same year.

 

The new facility, located in a 40,000-square-meter site within an industrial complex in the northeastern city Karvina, is expected to help the company expand its presence in Europe and globally, officials said.

On Thursday, the company held a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the new plant, with some 150 company and city officials in attendance, including GS Caltex CEO and vice chairman Huh Jin-soo, Karvina Mayor Tomas Hanzel and Korean Ambassador to the Czech Republic Moon Ha-young.

“The new plant marks the first meaningful step for us as a global maker of compounded resins. We will continue to ramp up efforts to elevate our global competitiveness through overseas investments,” Huh said during the event.

Compounded resin is a popular form of industrial material. It is more durable than plastic and is widely used in vehicles and electronic devices.

GS Caltex, the only Korean refining firm that produces the material, has sought to expand its global production network and currently operates three factories in Korea and two in China.

With the new Czech plant, the company said it is now equipped with an annual production capacity of 190,000 tons per year. Considering planned expansions of facilities in Korea and abroad, the combined output could reach an annual 240,000 tons by 2016, it said.

The latest plant, featuring cutting-edge production facilities, will first supply Korean big names such as Hyundai, Kia, LG and Samsung that currently produce in Europe, and then will expand the clientele to include other global carmakers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.

With the Europe factory alone, the company aims to see annual sales of 100 billion won ($94 million) by 2017.

In the European market where about 1.2 million tons of compounded resins is traded every year, GS Caltex last year sold about 6,000 tons. It hopes to expand its market share with the new production facilities.

By Lee Ji-yoon

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