(EnergyAsia, April 27, Friday) — France’s AREVA said its Transmission and Distribution (T&D) division started up a new factory in Suzhou city in China’s Jiangsu province this week as part of its expansion strategy in the country.


The new gas-insulated switchgear plant is AREVA T&D’s third worldwide following France and Switzerland. It will manufacture state-of-the-art products for high-voltage transmission networks up to 550 kV, and also act as a competence center for AREVA T&D by hosting testing, research and development activities.


The company also announced two additional initiatives to strengthen its presence on the Chinese market. It launched its high-voltage disconnector activities in the country and signed an agreement to form a joint venture with Wuxi Aluminium Technology Ltd, a Chinese company that manufactures gravity and low pressure aluminum alloy castings.


This joint venture will enable AREVA T&D to secure critical component sourcing for gas-insulated switchgear solutions.


With five manufacturing units in China and strong partnerships with local suppliers, the AREVA said its transmission and distribution division will help meet the growing needs of the Chinese market.


Philippe Guillemot, chairman and CEO of AREVA T&D and member of the AREVA group executive committee, said:


“Over the last three years we have gained significant market share in the high-voltage segment. With this opening, launch and joint venture, all AREVA T&D’s activities are now localised in China. Our ambition is to double our sales by 2010.”


With manufacturing facilities in 41 countries and a sales network in more than 100 countries, AREVA offers customers reliable technological solutions for CO2-free power generation and electricity transmission and distribution. The company is a world leader in nuclear power and the only company to cover all industrial activities in this field.