Stadler plant in Belarus to receive €35m in investment

Tuesday, 29 May 2018 14:09  |  Written by  BelTA

Chairman of the Board of Directors and owner of Stadler Rail Group Peter Spuhler told the media after the meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

Stadler plans to invest additional €35 million in the development of its plant in Belarus, Chairman of the Board of Directors and owner of Stadler Rail Group Peter Spuhler told the media after the meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk on 29 May, BelTA has learned.

“A few years ago we opened a plant in Faniol, not far from Minsk. It has operated successfully all this time. Our products are exported to Russia and other countries, including the countries of Western Europe. Given the good contracts that we have signed recently, good utilization of the plant, we are thinking about further expansion and investments,” Peter Spuhler noted.

Plans are in place to start the production of converters for trams and rolling stock, which will be also exported to Western European countries as separate products. The existing production of car bodies will be expanded up to 300 units. “In total, these two projects will require approximately €25 million in investment. In the future we want to expand the production of car bodies up to 450 units per year, which will require from €10 million to €12 million,” Peter Spuhler said.

Peter Spuhler stressed that the company is very pleased with the level of skills and work capacity of Belarusian specialists. “I can advise all western investors to take advantage of this. We have built the plant in Belarus virtually from scratch, infused it with advanced western technologies. In a relatively short period of time it has grown to be able to compete virtually on equal footing with our other production facilities worldwide,” Peter Spuhler noted.

For example, Stadler recently won a tender to supply trams for the city of Cochabamba in Bolivia. The whole batch will be produced by the Stadler plant in Fanipol. “We have had orders from Russia, Western Europe, but we have not yet supplied anything to Latin America,” Peter Spuhler noted.

He also talked about possible geography of deliveries and commented on the situation with the order from the Russian Aeroexpress company. “We had a contract to supply 24 trains. Two of them (prototypes) were produced in Switzerland and the rest at the plant in Fanipol. Due to the economic recession that happened in the midst of the contract, the customer experienced difficulties with the payment for the contract and reduced the order to 11 trains. Together with the banks who financed the contract, and the insurance companies we found a suitable solution to that problem. We sold nine trains from that order to Azerbaijan and four trains to Georgia,” Peter Spuhler said.

“We have settled this issue in full. We did not lose money on that order. Aeroexpress is happy with the project. The capacity utilization of the trains which are already in use reaches 98%. We continue talks with Aeroexpress. Perhaps, there will be another batch. It is important to meet clients halfway in case of force majeure and crises in order to seek a way out together,” Peter Spuhler said.

Speaking about the potential geography of supplies of the products made in Belarus, he named the markets of the CIS countries and the Eurasian Economic Union. These are also the states of Central Europe. Distant countries such as Latin America are also on the radar. “I think that we, as a company, and Belarus in general can be proud of keeping an equal footing in global competition,” Peter Spuhler said.

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