Greece's Etem (part of Viohalco) and Spain's Gestamp will invest a further 60 million euro in their plant in Sofia, Bulgaria to expand the production of aluminum components for the automotive industry. In 2019, the partners set up two local companies, Etem Gestamp Aluminium Extrusions and Gestamp Etem Automotive Bulgaria by investing 30 million euro. The increase in capacity now is connected with the launch of new client projects, the largest being manufacture of components for Porsche electric cars.
The funds will be invested over the next two years in the purchase of equipment, construction of a production building and introduction of a fully automated internal logistic solution. That will increase the plant's capacity from 35,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes a year.
Etem Gestamp is embarking on a number of projects, the largest being for supply of aluminum elements for battery boxes under an 8-year contract with Porsche. Serial production is expected to start in 2023. The additional production space will allow the company to carry out a number of other smaller projects.
The investment will also result in the opening of new jobs. The plant currently employs 500 people and their number will reach some 650 after the expansion. "The production is highly automated, as this is a requirement of our client," Etem Gestamp administrative director Thomas Purnell said.
The partnership between Greece's aluminum extrusion company Etem and Spain's automotive component manufacturer Gestamp started three years ago with the setting up of two joint ventures in Bulgaria for production of automotive components. The plant manufactures various structural components, chassis and suspension parts, as well as battery packs and fixing elements for electric vehicles. Customers include leading car manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, Daimler, Porsche, VW. The products are exported mainly to Europe but also to China and Mexico.
The combined turnover of Etem Gestamp Aluminium Extrusions and Gestamp Etem Automotive Bulgaria totalled 170 million levs in 2020.