Following the recent formation of Stahl Coatings and Fine Chemicals (Suzhou) Co Ltd, Stahl have commenced construction work on their Chinese manufacturing facility in Suzhou, a 2,500 year old city in the southern part of the Jiangsu province, located between Nanjing and Shanghai.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on March 2 in the presence of ten VIPs, including the leader of SND (Suzhou National Development), the Leader of Xuguan Township and the Leader of Zuguan Industry Park, and some 75 guests.

The ceremony commenced with cheerleaders welcoming guests and distributing gifts among them. The guests were also welcomed by Willi Vaskovich (on behalf of Frank Policky, president and CEO of Stahl Holdings, who was unable to be present due to illness) and project manager and general manager Bob Johnson.

In his speech, Willi Vaskovich said: ‘I am proud and pleased to be present at the start of another Stahl venture, our eighth manufacturing facility in the world. The construction of this factory here in Suzhou marks another milestone in Stahl’s history and is a big step towards realising our strategic plan, at the same time contributing to the expansion of Suzhou by creating new jobs. With the building of a manufacturing plant in Suzhou, Stahl affirms its confidence in the dynamic growth of the Chinese market while honouring its commitment to give local support to its customers all over the world.’

The ceremony continued with Willi Vaskovich and Bob Johnson keeping local custom by painting the lion eyes to wish Stahl Suzhou a prosperous future. This was followed by a traditional Caiging Performance and lunch at the New City Garden Hotel.

Stahl anticipates that the new $18 million, 54,000 square metre plant will come on stream in April 2006 with a capacity to manufacture 17,000 tonnes of product per year. Products to be manufactured in China will initially include acrylics, pigments and lacquer emulsions for the leather and shoe industries and surface coatings for the flexible substrate industry.