Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Rakon expands operations at shared Chinese plant

Photo / Steven McNicholl
Photo / Steven McNicholl

Components maker Rakon is stepping up production at its Chinese manufacturing facility, which opened last year.

Chief executive Brent Robinson said the plant, commissioned in the southwestern city of Chengdu last July, recently shifted to round-the-clock production seven days a week and was expanding its operations.

"It now has almost 200 employees and the facility will be further increasing capacity over the next few months."

Analysts have said the factory - a joint venture with Timemaker, a Chinese firm - has the potential to boost Rakon's margins through cost savings.

Robinson's comments came asthe Mt Wellington-based company announced that it had appointed former Carter Holt Harvey chief executive Peter Springford as an independent director.

Rakon chairman Bryan Mogridge said Springford had considerable business experience in China.

He said China was an important growth market for the firm, which manufactures crystal oscillators used in telecommunications infrastructure, smartphones and navigation devices.

"Peter Springford has recently been chairman of a large Chengdu wood products business and a listed Hong Kong printing and packaging company, and has lived and worked in Asia," Mogridge said.

"With Rakon's expansion into China, his experience, networks and knowledge of the region will be valuable to the board."

Springford also sits on the boards of Nuplex and the New Zealand Refining Company.

Rakon has been struggling with the impact of a strong Kiwi dollar and decreasing demand in some of its markets.

The firm posted a $259,000 net loss in its interim result last November.

Rakon's shares hit an all-time low of 44c in December, but surged 42 per cent during the first weeks of this year to hit 67c at the end of January.

Since then the stock has shed most of those gains, closing at 50c last night.

- NZ Herald

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