ARNHEM, The Netherlands - Akzo Nobel announced plans to build a new architectural-coatings production facility in China, with construction scheduled to begin by the end of the year. The plant, which will produce waterborne wall paints, is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2005.

The plant will be built at Akzo Nobel's existing manufacturing site in Suzhou, near Shanghai, where the company currently operates production plants for its Car Refinishes, Transportation Coatings, Powder Coatings and Coil Coatings businesses.

Akzo Nobel Coatings currently operates six production sites in China, including a 50-50 joint venture and five majority-owned or wholly owned sites. The Coatings group employs more than 1,600 people in China and has expanded its sales in China to more than 200 million euros in 2002, with the sales increase resulting from "organic" growth and selective acquisitions.