Boeing expanding composites venture in China

Singapore
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Boeing has begun work on an expansion of its composite parts manufacturing joint venture in China, four months after taking majority ownership.

The US airframe manufacturer says in a statement that it broke ground last week for a new factory that will double the size of its Boeing Tianjin Composites venture and increase capacity by 60%.

Boeing Tianjin Composites makes structural panels and other composite parts. In addition to Boeing, customers include FACC, Goodrich, Hexcel, Korea Aerospace Industries, Shanghai Aviation Industry Corp, Vought Aircraft Industries and Xian Aviation Industry Corp

Boeing says it is investing $21 million on the expansion including the purchase of land adjacent to the existing facility at Tianjin, which is outside the Chinese capital Beijing.

Construction on the new factory is due to be completed by early 2010 and Boeing says it should be fully utilised by 2013, by which time the number of employees will increase to around 1,000 from the current 600.

Boeing Tianjin Composites was until earlier this month known as BHA Aero Composites. Its name change and expansion follows Boeing's purchase of former joint venture partner Hexcel's shareholding in July,

The facility began operations in 2002 and Boeing now has majority ownership, with state-owned China Aviation Industry Corp retaining a minority stake.