September 17, 2012 / 8:33 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-RHI rethinks Brazil plans after import duties hiked

* RHI says cannot maintain original plan for plant

* Says still fully committed to Brazil, Latin America

VIENNA, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Austrian fireproof materials maker RHI said it was rethinking its plans for a new plant in Brazil after the country raised import duties and introduced new anti-dumping duties in a bid to protect local manufacturers and revive its economy.

RHI said a year ago it was investing an initial 85 million euros ($112 million) to build a plant in Queimados that was due to come on line in the third quarter of 2013.

The plant, which was approved by the Brazilian government in the second quarter of this year, planned to import some of the materials it needed for manufacturing from abroad.

“We cannot maintain our original plan in its existing form in the light of the changed and more onerous situation and therefore we are acting quickly and flexibly with the long term success in mind,” Chief Executive Franz Struzl said on Monday.

He added in a statement: “We are fully committed to Brazil and all of South America as an important part of our growth strategy and will continue to expand our market share with our team in Brazil.”

Brazil has rolled out more than a dozen stimulus measures since a sharp slowdown in late 2011, including raising tariffs on 100 foreign products to protect local manufacturers from a flood of imports.

RHI’s Queimados plant was designed to produce 60,000 tonnes per year, more than half of which was destined for the domestic market and the rest for elsewhere in South America.

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