23 Dec 2009 15:27

LG launches $9.8 mln refrigerator production in Uzbekistan

TASHKENT. Dec 23 (Interfax) - LG Electronics of South Korea has begun producing refrigerators in Uzbekistan at a plant into which it has put $9.8 million, the association Uzeltekhprom told Interfax.

Production was organized at OJSC Sino (Samarkand), an Uzbek monopoly producer of refrigerator and freezer equipment, under a mid-2009 deal signed by Uzeltekhprom and LG, the Uzeltekhprom administration source said.

The first phase of the project, running until the end of next year, will be production of 50,000 LG brand refrigerators built on modern assembly lines LG has set up at the Samarkand plant.

The second phase, in 2011, envisions upgrading the plant's production capacity to where it can produce up to 100,000 new kinds of refrigerators and freezers per year.

Total investment in the project will be roughly $15 million.

Sino, with production capacity of 250,000 units per year, was launched in 1973. It was declared bankrupt in 2003 and plant management was turned over to a consortium of Uzbek companies. Its equipped capacity is currently only 15%.

Uzeltekhprom, which comprises Uzbek electro-technical sector companies, plans in 2009-2013 to direct $93 million to modernizing and developing production at the plant, including $48.7 million for the production of household appliances. Over a five-year period, plans call for upgrading existing and building new production facilities for making up to 200,000 televisions, 350,000 refrigerators, 90,000 washing machines, 75, 000 air conditioners, 35,000 compact disc players, and 50,000 regular telephones.

Appliances will carry the LG and Samsung brand names (South Korea), Candy (Italy), Haier (China), and also the local brand Roison.