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Nokian Renkaat says Russia plant output on target

HELSINKI -- Finnish tire maker Nokian Renkaat said today that its new Russian manufacturing plant's production volume and quality are in line with targets.

The second stage of the plant construction was completed today, and includes warehousing and a mixing department, Nokian Renkaat said.

"The building and expansion ... has proceeded well and we have been able to accelerate the timetable," Nokian Renkaat Chief Executive Kim Gran said in a statement.

The plant in Vsevolozhsk currently has a daily output of approximately 6,000 tires, the company said. It is intended to produce 4 million tires per year by 2008.

Earlier, Kim Gran told business daily Taloussanomat he was not worried about the possibility of rival Amtel-Vredestein tying up with Germany's Continental AG on possible areas of cooperation in Russia.

"We have competed with these companies for the last 30 years and all of our main competitors have their sales organisations in Russia," he said.

Possible Russian membership of the World Trade Organization would not hurt Nokian Renkaat's business in Russia, he said, though the company might "tighten our schedules" to maintain their market leader position in Russia.

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