Nissan to invest $100 million in Egypt by 2010


TOKYO, June 28 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co , Japan's second-biggest auto maker, said on Monday that it would invest a total of $100 million by 2010 to expand its operations in Egypt, including some $60 million earmarked by 2005.

Nissan plans to buy out and renovate an existing manufacturing facility near Cairo, while enhancing sales and distribution operations there, Nissan said in a statement.

Under the latest expansion plan, Nissan plans to start local assembly of its first passenger vehicle, the Sunny sedan, in Egypt in the summer of 2005. This will be followed by the launch of the locally assembled X-Trail sports utility vehicle.

The auto maker began operations in Egypt in December 1997, selling a locally assembled Pickup model and imported Sunny sedan.

"This investment proves our commitment to Egypt and to the Middle East as well as a further expansion in other key global markets," said Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan.

"Egypt offers Nissan a competitive geographic base to help expand both its local business as well as exports to North American and Mid-Eastern markets," Ghosn said in the statement.

The company last Thursday said that it would spend 45 billion yen to build a new headquarters in Yokohama, a port city south of Tokyo, by 2010, in a move to cut its overhead costs.

In April, Nissan reported a 12 percent jump in operating profit for the past year. Shareholders last week were told that the company would pay a 67 percent higher dividend in the year to March 2008 than this year.

Prior to the announcement, Nissan shares ended unchanged at 1,211 yen in Tokyo on Monday, versus a rise of 0.88 percent on the Tokyo Nikkei 225 average .



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