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Akrapovič Moves Production Amid Expansion Drive

Ivančna Gorica, 24 July (STA) - Akrapovič, a successful Slovenian maker of high-end exhausts for motorcycles and cars, saw a 23% increase in sales in the first half of the year and expects them to amount to at least EUR 65m by the year's end. Profit is planned 5% above last year's figure although it will be affected by production's move.

The company, which currently employs around 700 people, will keep the management, research and development department and the foundry at the present location in Ivančna Gorica, central Slovenia, while moving production to Črnomelj, in south-easternmost part of the country.

Talking to the STA after the shareholders' meeting on Thursday, chairman Igor Akrapovič said the company would not be able to complete all its orders this year because of the move, so some would have to be transferred to next year.

The bulk of the move to the 19,000-square-metre facility formerly used by compressors maker Secop, currently in liquidation, is planned to start in August, to be completed by February 2015.

The current leaser Secom plans to complete the liquidation process by 2016 when it will have moved all its production processes to Slovakia and shut down the company that used to be owned by Danish industrial giant Danfoss.

Akrapovič has already employed around 100 staff in Črnomelj this year, mainly welders, who need about a year for re-training. The staff there is to rise by about 70 a year to at least 500 by the completion of the move.

Meanwhile, between 200 and 250 staff are expected to be kept in Ivančna Gorica, Akrapovič told the STA, noting that at the current pace of growth the overall headcount would number 900 or more within five or four years.

The shareholders' meeting endorsed the management's proposal to leave all of the EUR 18.78m in distributable profit for 2013 undistributed. They also backed the proposal to expand into management of hazardous waste.

Akrapovič made a net profit of EUR 3.5m in 2013, up from EUR 1.27m the year before, as sales rose 17% to EUR 54m. Currently two-thirds of its exhaust systems are sold on the motorcycles market, but the car segment is to increase to 50% in the coming years.

Exporting to Europe, the US and Asia, Akrapovič supplies the world's leading motorcycle makers, including Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, KTM, BMW, Ducati and Aprilia.

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