Norwegian metalworks moves to Latvia

  • 2001-04-05
  • Ilze Arklina
RIGA - A new Norwegian-Icelandic metalworks company, Tipro Baltic, was officially opened in Olaine, Latvia, on March 29. The company was established in cooperation with Tipro Tynnplater, one of the largest metalworks firms in Norway, and the investment company Nordic Industries.

The Tipro Tynnplater production facility has been operating in Trondheim, Norway, for more than 100 years.

"It had grown into the city and had no prospects for development, so it was decided to move it to Latvia," Tipro Baltic President Georgs Buklovskis told The Baltic Times.

"Latvia can offer qualified and not so expensive personnel, and the infrastructure here is cheaper than in Norway," he said.

The production facility in Trondheim will soon close, Buklovskis said.

The same goes for Tipro Nova, a Norwegian water radiator manufacturer, which plans to relocate its plant from Norway to a Latvian industrial zone, the Nordic Industrial Park, in June.

Tipro Baltic has invested about a million lats ($1.6 million) in its new production facility, said company President Georgs Buklovskis.

It is also planned to make more investments in the facility over this coming year to the tune of at least 8 million Norwegian kroner ($870,000).

Tipro Baltic expects its turnover to reach 2 million lats in 2001 and to grow to 7 million lats in 2002. According to Buklovskis, the plant plans to close this year with profits.

The company employs 50 workers, but this number will double as soon as production starts in full capacity, Tipro Baltic representatives said. Currently, the company is working on two large orders – transportation containers for the U.S. Marines to transport humanitarian aid, as well as making 2,500 tons of metal frames for a large construction company in Norway.

The Tipro Baltic president said that production of the transportation containers and associated parts will make up over 50 percent of the total output.

The metalworks plant will also manufacture fish farming equipment to be exported to Chile. Other products will include metal parts for construction purposes, furniture and computer parts.

Buklovskis said they expect to export 90 percent of their output to Scandinavia and the United States and to sell the remainder in Latvia.

Tipro Baltic Board Chairman Kjell Steen said that the company hopes to take 10 percent of the Lithuanian and Estonian markets.

Tipro Baltic intends to complete the certification procedure by the end of this year to obtain an ISO 9001 quality certificate.

Tipro Baltic is one-half owned by the Norwegian consortium Tipro Invest and the other half by Nordic Industries, a company owned by Icelandic businessman Gisli Reynisson.

Tipro Nova, which plans to relocate its production facility to Olaine in June, will become the only producer of water radiators in the Baltics. The company hopes to take 35 percent of the Latvian market and 65 percent of the Norwegian market by the end of 2002.

Steen said that the radiator production facility will be moved to Latvia because it was close to Norway, the main sales market for Tipro Nova products, and European countries supplying the company with resources.

Last year Tipro Nova posted a turnover of $6 million. In Latvia the company expects to produce from 100,000 to 2 million water radiators annually.

Tipro Nova has already reserved for its production facility an area of 4,500 square meters in the Nordic Industrial Park in Olaine, nearby the Latvian capital of Riga.