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22 Jun, 2007 02:52

Bosch starts making fridges in Russia

German home appliances producer Bosch Siemens has opened a refrigerator plant in an industrial zone near St. Petersburg – a city popular with investors. It will produce up to 500,000 fridges a year, with plans for a washing-machine production l

The decision to site the factory there wasn't just a random choice. This area, called Neuendorf Strelna, is one of more than a dozen new industrial zones being built in the region.

At the opening ceremony the Chief executive of Bosch and Siemens group, Kurt Gutberlet, said that St. Petersburg was an ideal location and attracts German investors because of its ports and road links.

But the region's government is not saying yes to all would-be investors keen to do business here.

“Our main goal is not to collect much investment. We've negotiated with several companies that offered a great amount of investment but the type of their production didn't suit the strategy of our city's economic and industrial development. We're selecting only high-tech, innovative and ecologically pure projects,” marked St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matvienko.

The latest Bosch investment is worth $US 65 MLN – and its already bearing fruit.

These are the first one hundred of Bosch fridges to roll off their production line here, in St. Petersburg. They will be given away to local charity organizations in charity.

The company will eventually employ about 500 workers – all local residents most of whom have been trained at Bosch plants in Germany.

It is unlikley to be Bosch's only opening ceremony in Russia – there are plans for a $US 50 MLN factory to produce washing-machines – again in St. Petersburg with a further 450 jobs.

For the 2nd year in a row St. Petersburg was rated to have the minimum investment risk, with General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, British American Tobacco and Pepsi already there.