Belgians eye Dutch car plant

12th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — Belgian industrial group Punch International has expressed an interest in taking over NedCar, the only major car production plant in the Netherlands.

12 May 2006

AMSTERDAM — Belgian industrial group Punch International has expressed an interest in taking over NedCar, the only major car production plant in the Netherlands.

Punch's financial director Wim Deblauwe told Dutch business channel RTL-Z the idea is to make environmentally friendly cars on the production line formerly used to assemble the Smart ForFour. The car envisaged by Punch would incorporate an electrical motor as well as a more conventional petrol engine.

Deblauwe said buying NedCar in the Dutch town of Born could guarantee its survival. However there would only be work for 1,200 of the 3,000-strong workforce.

Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi, NedCar's current owner, said on Friday the plant is not for sale but Deblauwe said Punch is talking to the Japanese and to NedCar's management.

NedCar is only building Mitsubishi's Colt following Daimler Chrysler's decision to halt production of the four-person Smart.

NedCar's management suspended plans in April for mass redundancy after the workers threatened industrial action. A special committee was established to try and find new work for the plant.

Punch is headquartered  in Sint-Martens-Latem in Belgium. It has evolved over the years from a traditional subcontractor to the electronics industry to a provider of "total solutions" in the graphics, agriculture, telematics and telemetry industries. The group also operates as a subcontractor providing tailor-made services to the automotive, consumer electronics, agro-food and display industries.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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