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Mitsubishi signs contract to build plant in Kaluga

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - Japan's Mitsubishi Motors signed a contract with Russia's economics ministry to invest $200 million in building a plant in the Kaluga Region, a senior ministry official said on Friday.

"An agreement was signed today to invest around $200 million in the annual production of 50,000 cars at the first stage," said Dmitry Levchenkov, the ministry's deputy director for investment policy.

The agreement gives Mitsubishi Motors customs benefits on auto component deliveries. The carmaker has also made a commitment to produce components domestically.

He added that Japan's car giant will sign a relevant investment agreement with the Kaluga Region, located some 180 km (84 miles) southwest of Moscow, in February-March 2008.

Another automaker, France's Peugeot Citroen said on Thursday it would build a factory in Kaluga to begin the production of mid-range cars by 2010, producing 100,000 vehicles a year for the Russian market. Output is eventually expected to rise to 300,000 cars.

PSA Peugeot Citroen signed a deal to assemble cars in Russia with the economics ministry in June.

Levchenkov said the investors will locate their plants next to each other, north of Kaluga, to streamline expenses.

The Kaluga Region has also been chosen as the site by Volvo Trucks and Samsung under deals signed in June. The Swedish producer will invest 3.5 billion rubles (about $135 million) in the region and create about 1,000 jobs. The South Korean producer of household and electronic appliances will also invest around $135 million and provide 1,200 jobs there.

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