Bathroom ceramics and sanitaryware specialist Vitra, which is owned by the Turkish Eczacibaşi Group, has invested TL250 million (£35m) to expand its Bozüyük plant in Turkey.
The investment has seen Vitra add another production line to the factory, increasing its capacity by 1.1m to 5.6m units a year.
The expansion has added 40,000sq m of space and created around 500 new jobs. Robotic systems feature extensively in the new manufacturing space and Vitra aims to increase its exports by €40m (£35m). The company said that its existing output already accounts for more than half of ceramic sanitaryware exports from Turkey.
In a speech at the opening ceremony, Eczacibaşi group chairman Bülent Eczacibaşi said: “We’ve created a whole new production infrastructure at the new facility that blends technology and human labour. Vitra’s growth in international markets contributed to our decision to make this investment. Vitra is one of the leaders in Europe’s ceramics industry, with expertise acquired from over 60 years in the business. We’re very proud of our powerful position and the fact that Vitra contributes to more than half of Turkey’s ceramic sanitaryware exports.”
Vitra UK managing director Levent Giray (pictured) added: “This is a significant investment for the business that demonstrates our commitment to growth throughout Europe. Vitra is enjoying huge success here in the UK thanks to the development of products that are created specifically for the UK market.”
Also attending the opening ceremony was group vice-president Aköz Eczacibaşi, who commented: “As always, one of our top priorities in this investment was occupational health and safety, in line with our principle of ‘people first’. The robotic systems we’re using here increase both our productivity and enhance the working conditions for our employees. Robotics has allowed us to increase the number of women working on our production lines – a priority for us – and one that reflects the Eczacibaşi Group’s commitment to providing equal opportunities for women.”
Vitra said that it was the first company to set up a modern ceramics factory and bathroom R&D centre in Turkey.
The Eczacibaşi Building Products Division incorporates six brands – Vitra, Artema, Intema Yaşam, Villeroy and Boch, Burgbad and Engers. It has 13 production plants – five in Turkey and eight in Germany, France and Russia.