BUSINESS IN SHORT

Sony increasing commitment in Slovakia

THERE's good news for the Sony plant in Nitra.

THERE's good news for the Sony plant in Nitra.

Sony has announced plans to make the plant the biggest and most modern producer of LCD TVs in the world. Furthermore, Hajime Ushida, the general director of the plant's Sony Slovakia Technology Centre, confirmed to the Sme daily on April 28 that the company will move part of its design department from Barcelona to Slovakia.

The Japanese concern, which produces household appliances, plans to double production of LCD TVs at the Nitra factory to four million units annually by the end of the year.

The company will also increase its labour force in Nitra by 800 to 3,500 people by the end of the year.

"The firm does not have a problem filling vacancies in Slovakia," Ushida told the daily.
Sony launched its production in Slovakia in Trnava two years ago. However, its small plot of land didn't allow for expanding production facilities. So it moved to the industrial park Nitra - Sereď. Out of the 1,700-strong workforce, 1,200 moved to Nitra and the rest remained to produce tuners and staff the customer centre in Trnava.

The cost of the new plant, which sits on 45 hectares of land, is about Sk2.4 billion. The Nitra plant launched production in August, along with the plant in Barcelona.

"We manufacture two million LCD TVs [in Barcelona] annually," Fujio Nishida, president of Sony Europe, told the daily. "So from the production standpoint, Nitra is more valuable."

Sony is building a logistics centre in Nitra that it wants to put into operation in the fall. It will employ 300 blue-collar workers and 60 administrative workers.

The Japanese producer plans not only to concentrate production in Nitra but also distribution of LCD TVs to markets in Western, Central and Eastern Europe. Costs are projected at about Sk890 million.

The Sony plant in Nitra will manufacture all Bravia sets from basic models to top versions.

The industrial park in Nitra also houses Sony's sub-contractors: Japanese companies Meiki and Ryoka Global Europe.

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