Austrian lighting group Zumtobel plans to shift production from China to a new plant in Serbia as part of its turnaround strategy, its chief executive said.
Alfred Felder said that production in Niš would be cheaper than in China, partly due to shorter distances to customers.
The ‘made in Europe’ label is also a selling point for some customers, the new CEO said in the first hints of what his new strategy – due to be presented in September – might involve. “Some of our customers simply do not want ‘made in China’,” he said.
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Around 60 per cent of the lighting components currently produced in China are for export, and this part of the production will be moved to the Serbian plant by the end of the year, Felder said.
He added that wage costs in Chinese coastal cities have reached the level of those in Portugal, and considering a long transport route, high logistics, storage, and customs costs, it is cheaper and better to produce in Niš.
Felder pointed out that the company came out of a bad period and was on the course to grow. He announced savings in sales and administration of the company, adding that the negative effects of company restructuring from the previous year cost a total of 25 million euro, adding that this year, they would be much lower. The company reduced the number of employees from 6,224 to 5,878, of which 2,200 worked in Austria.
Zumtobel currently has 400 workers in its Niš production plant in which the company invested close to 30 million euro.
This post is also available in: Italiano