Michelin to expand Brazil operations: official

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French tire manufacturer Michelin plans to invest 800 million euros (1.2 billion dollars) in Brazil from 2012 to 2016, the head of the group's South American operations said.

"Our project is to grow incessantly," Jean-Philippe Ollier said in an interview published Monday by the business daily Valor.

Michelin currently has less than a 10 percent share of Brazil's automobile tire market, and wants to double that over the course of a decade, Ollier said.

It is currently building a second automobile tire factory in Itatiaia, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which will begin operations in the first half of 2012 with a capacity to produce 20 million tires a year.

The company invested a billion dollars in Brazil in the 2007-2011 period to build two factories and enlarge two others.

Ollier said Michelin's global investment strategy gives priority to Latin America, and especially Brazil, where the company employs 4,000 people. China and India also will receive an important share of its investments, he said.

© 2011 AFP

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