Naoki Tsukada, General Manager, Mitsubishi Corporation Belgrade Liaison Office

Mitsubishi’s Commitment To Energy And Digital Transformation

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is a global integrated business enterprise that operates across virtually every industry in approximately 90 countries and regions worldwide. With a network of around 1,700 group companies, MC remains fully dedicated to growing its businesses with integrity and fairness, while contributing to a prosperous society.

MC has had a presence in Serbia for several years, while the MC liaison office in Belgrade has been instrumental in supporting new business opportunities for the company. Most recently, MC has been collaborating with Toyo Tires to build a factory in Serbia. This will be Toyo Tires’ first factory in Europe and its eighth overseas. Operations at the new facility will commence in 2022, with approximately 500 employees.

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) continues to actively provide its expertise to help realise Japanese investments in Serbia. What are some highlights of your collaboration with Toyo Tires?

-Toyo Tires is a business and capital alliance partner of MC, and it has invested a total of around €400 million in Serbia with the construction of the new tyre factory. The new plant is due to start manufacturing operations in the spring of 2022, reaching a capacity of five million tyres annually (based on passenger vehicle tyres) by the summer of 2023. The factory will bring in new technology and create around 500 jobs.

The construction of this factory is Toyo Tires’ most significant investment in Serbia to date by far, considering the €367 million price tag for the first phase, the size of the facility and the fact that it is Toyo Tires’ first project with MC as a capital and business partner. In addition, the main contractor for the construction of the main facility, which will cover around 20 hectares, will be another Japanese company – Takenaka.

The total investment is worth €382 million and the exports of Toyo Tires’ products are expected to be worth around €240 million per year, which will be huge drivers for the development of the Serbian economy. We also expect this project to encourage other Japanese companies to enter the country.

The construction deadline is 17 months away, and the manufacturing complex for the fully-automated production of car and truck tyres will be located on a parcel of nearly 64 hectares, with a planned annual production of five million premium class tyres that will be heading to the European and Russian markets. Toyo Tires will use the latest production technology to construct the plant in Inđija, where it will produce top-quality products at competitive prices and in an energy-efficient way.

You mentioned that the tyres made in Inđija will be produced in an energy-efficient way. Is this an example of Mitsubishi Corporation’s commitment to Energy Transformation (EX)?

-The transition to low-/zero-carbon forms of energy, which we refer to as “EX”, is impacting every industry, and we embrace the challenge of responding to climate change while delivering on our responsibility to provide a stable supply of energy to society.

We have continued adapting to our ever-evolving external environment since our company’s foundation, in order to grow together with society based on our guiding philosophy: The Three Corporate Principles. Our EX initiatives align with our spirit of “Corporate Responsibility to Society”, helping to preserve the global environment. We are currently considering how MC can provide optimal solutions for social and environmental issues, and we plan to announce new initiatives towards realising a low-/ zero-carbon society by the end of the 2021 fiscal year.

Can you please tell us more about your Digital Transformation (DX) initiatives?

-MC has created a company-wide taskforce to launch a number of DX initiatives, starting with the food distribution sector. By leveraging MC’s strengths across numerous industries, each business group is working to develop concepts for cross-cutting DX initiatives across myriad fields. Specifically, we are expanding our DX activities across the sectors of distribution, plant and mining operations and urban development, including smart city projects.

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