Germany's BHTC invests €16.2m to extend Bulgarian car climate controls plant

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Photo by BHTC

German vehicle climate control parts specialist Behr-Hella Thermocontrol (BHTC) is investing €16.2m to extend its manufacturing plant in Sofia, Bulgaria.

At the end of last month, the Lippstadt-based company sealed a deal with the Bulgarian government to proceed with the expansion of its production and logistics operation in the Sofia-Bozhurishte industrial zone.

The government approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lippstadt, Germany-based components supplier backing its proposed expansion scheme for the plant established in 2013.

Work on the project, which will create another 250 jobs on the site, is scheduled to be completed by early 2019. Last BHTC employed a workforce of 420 at its site in Sofia. Expansion will involve the extension of the existing production and logistics building.

The German firm produces control panels and control units for vehicle air conditioning, climate sensors and air blower controllers.

In Bulgaria, the plant specialises in making climate control panels and black boxes, primarily for international automotive customers Daimler, Renault, Scania, Volkswagen and the German air conditioning and engine cooling systems manufacturer MAHLE Behr.

In 2016, Behr-Hella Thermocontrol inaugurated a new plant, also specialising in climate control panels and black boxes, at San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato state, Mexico.  

Just over a year ago, BHTC launched a new European research and development centre in Tampere, Finland. The firm chose to set up in Finland’s third biggest city to take advantage of former technology teams there from Nokia and Microsoft Mobile, it made clear.

At the start of this year, BHTC aimed to employ 20 development engineers at the research centre which is expected to focus on developing display and touch technology in the future.

BHTC group, whose other global automotive customers include Audi, Volvo, BMW and Porsche, operates other production facilities in China, Japan, India, Germany and the US. Overall, it employs 2390 and reported annual turnover for 2017 of €458m.

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