ARNHEM, The Netherlands - Akzo Nobel announced plans to further expand its powder-coatings operations in China with the construction of two production plants this year. The plants will be located in Langfang, halfway between Beijing and Tianjin, and in Guangdong Province in southern China on a site adjacent to Akzo Nobel's existing powder operation in Shenzhen.

Bill McPherson, general manager for Powder Coatings, said the company will relocate its existing Beijing facility to the Langfang site, situated in a rapidly growing industrial region in northern China where a major customer of Akzo Nobel's powder coatings is based. "This expansion will enable us to better serve its needs, as well as respond to general market growth in that region," McPherson said.

Referring to the South China site, McPherson said, "Guangdong Province is an important region for our exporting customers operating in metal furniture, electrical and other goods, and also has a high concentration of powder users operating in architectural aluminum and IT." The Guangdong site also will allow for later expansion phases, he said.

Rudy van der Meer, the member of Akzo Nobel's Board of Management responsible for Coatings, said the new facilities represent a continuation of the company's strategic focus on the rapidly growing Chinese market. The company's powder-coatings business expanded into China in 1992, and "Since then we have consolidated our position through acquisition and organic growth," Van der Meer said.