ARNHEM, The Netherlands - Akzo Nobel Coatings' Industrial Finishes business announced the formal opening of two new multi-purpose coatings-manufacturing sites in China, at locations near Beijing and Shanghai.

The sites, which employ a total of about 300 people, will focus on the Industrial Finishes business's core product lines of wood, coil and specialty plastics coatings.

The facilities are located in Tianjin, 80 miles from Beijing, and Jiashang, near Shanghai. Key end-use markets are the furniture industry, roofing and siding for construction, and plastics for consumer electronics, the company said.

"With the opening of these two sites, we are further demonstrating our ongoing commitment to establishing a significant presence in China for all our key businesses," said Rudy van der Meer, the member of Akzo Nobel's Board of Management responsible for Coatings. "As the world's biggest coatings company, we are making sustained efforts to expand in growth areas, and China remains a key market within our global strategy."

With the new facilities, Akzo Nobel Coatings said it operates eight production sites in China, with two new powder-coatings sites under construction. The sites, which manufacture products offered by all the company's key coatings businesses, are located in Tianjin, Jiashang, Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Shenzhen, Ningbo, and Dongguan City. Akzo Nobel's Coatings group in China employs more than 2,100 people and recorded sales of nearly 300 million euros in 2003, the company said.