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Yaskawa announces additional plant in Kočevje

Kočevje, 14 May (STA) - Half a year after breaking ground for its first robot-production plant in Europe, Japanese group Yaskawa announced an expansion of its investment plans for Slovenia. On Monday, it signed a letter of intent for the construction of a plant manufacturing robotic hand components.

The new operation is to be built in Kočevje, next to the plant that is already in construction. Together, the two facilities are to employ about 500 people.

The letter of intent was signed in Kočevje by Manfred Stern, the boss of Yaskawa Europe, Slovenia's Economic Development and Technology Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Kočevje Mayor Vladimir Prebilič. Prime Minister Miro Cerar also attended the signing.

The newly planned investment is valued at EUR 20-30m. Stern expects that everything will be ready for construction by April 2019 and that production would be launched within two years.

Slovenia has already earmarked a EUR 5.6m incentive for the EUR 25m investment in the robot plant. It is expected that a similar incentive will also be okayed for the second plant.

Plagued by unemployment, the Kočevje community is very pleased with Yaskawa's plans to create 500 jobs.

However, finding suitably trained staff has already proven challenging for investors in the past. Therefore, the Kočevje vocational school has boosted its engineering programme in cooperation with Yaskawa. The company will moreover launch an R&D centre.

The Slovenia-based facilities will cover about 75% of demand for Yaskawa's products in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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