ARNHEM, The Netherlands -- Akzo Nobel announced the formal opening of the company's first decorative-coatings production plant in Russia, in a move the company said reflects its plan to tap the "huge potential" of the Russian market.

Rudy van der Meer, the company's board member responsible for coatings, said Akzo Nobel's decorative-coatings brands "already hold excellent positions in Russia and its neighboring countries. By opening this factory we will reinforce these positions."

"This investment underscores Akzo Nobel Coatings' strategy of increasing our market presence in fast-growing areas like Central and Eastern Europe and we believe Russia has huge potential," van der Meer said.

The plant, located seven kilometers east of Moscow, includes manufacturing, laboratory and warehouse facilities and administrative offices covering a 7,300-square-meter area. The plant employs 50 people, with the addition of 30 more positions anticipated over the next three years.

Peter de Groot, general manager of Akzo Nobel Decorative Coatings Russia, said the production site will allow the company to meet demand for premium paints and products targeting the mass market.