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Garden State Tanning plans to operate plants in China

November 10, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

In a continuing effort to become the No. 1 global automotive leather supplier, Garden State Tanning plans to operate automotive leather cutting and finishing plants in Shanghai, China, the company's president said.

There has been a strong demand for leather produced in China for vehicles built in China, Garden State President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Lecher said.

A growing number of automobile manufacturers are opening or will be opening production plants in China, Lecher said. They include Honda, General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz.

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The move gives Garden State an advantage over its competitors because it will be the first substantial international automobile leather supplier with operations in China, he said.

Garden State is ranked third among automotive leather suppliers in the global market, Lecher said.

Garden State also is finalizing plans for a cutting facility in the Czech Republic that should be open by April, Lecher said.

Lecher said he did not know how many jobs the new plants overseas would create.

The moves will not affect local jobs, Lecher said.

Garden State has approximately 750 employees in Washington County, Lecher said. Garden State has two manufacturing plants in the Williamsport area and its headquarters is on Crayton Boulevard east of Maugansville.

Lecher said locating the operations in Shanghai does not take away potential jobs from Garden State's local operations because there is a requirement in China for local materials to be used in cars manufactured there.

Likewise, Chrysler requires local materials be used at the Czech Republic facility, Lecher said.

Garden State is partnering with Richina Pacific Limited to build and equip the facilities in China, Lecher said. Garden State will oversee the cutting, sewing and finishing operations, which paints the leather.

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