Auto cable maker Leoni plans €32m Bulgaria plant

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Leading automotive cable and wiring harness manufacturer Leoni AG. is set to create another 2,000 jobs in southeast Europe with plans to build a new plant, this time in Bulgaria.

The German company will invest €32m in the new facility to be located in the northern Bulgarian city of Pleven. The plant, Leoni’s first in the country, is scheduled to start up at the end of this year and be fully operational by 2020, revealed Bulgaria’s Economy Ministry.

Late last year, the Nuremberg-based wiring specialist was in preliminary talks with local authorities in Pleven as it considered possible new development sites in Serbia and Bulgaria.

This month, Leoni confirmed it intends to proceed with plans for an operation in Bulgaria at a joint news conference in Sofia with the deputy Economy Minister Alexander Manolev. He noted the firm’s investment is the largest in the region in the past decade.

The facility, due to supply parts to an unnamed German car manufacturer, will be built in stages with half the investment covering construction and the rest devoted to production machinery, confirmed Leoni Europe managing director Ralf Singmann.

In April this year, Leoni Wiring Systems inaugurated the second phase of its third Serbian plant located at Niš in the south of that country and producing wire harnesses for a German automotive group.  

At the same time, the German supplier revealed it was starting work this summer on building a fourth national unit, at Kraljevo, central Serbia. This 45,000m2 plant, set to employ up to 5,000 workers by 2020, will turn out cable products for Mercedes cars.  

There has been rapid growth in the automotive vehicle components sector in Bulgaria recently with 170 companies now producing parts ranging from electronic components, interior fabrics, cables and windscreen wipers.

Suppliers there are now reported to be employing more than 40,000 workers and together provide around 4% of national output.  

Today, Leoni has around 56 manufacturing plants across Europe with the region’s south east well represented including five sites each in Romania and Slovakia and one in the Ukraine.

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