Czech spark plug producer in Russian expansion


Investment in Russia by Czech spark plug producer Brisk Tábor has been highlighted as one particular bright spot in problematic Czech-Russian trade and investment relations.

Photo: Brisk TáborPhoto: Brisk Tábor Czech-Russian business relations have taken a slide since the imposition of EU sanctions on Russia and the impact of the fall in the ruble on the country’s purchasing and investment potential.

So, it was something of a bright spot for both sides when Czech company Brisk Tábor on Wednesday unveiled its new investment at one of Russia’s auto and engineering hubs, the city of Togliatti in the Samara region.

The investment should boost Brisk’s local capacity for producing spark plugs from around 5 million a year now to around 9 million. The new production line has already been up and running provisionally for around three months .

The spark plugs will be used for local vehicle producers, such as Avtovaz, which manufactures around 300,000 vehicles a year, as well as on Lada, Renault, and Nissan models.

And Brisk’s local and wider Russian connections – it’s been on the Russian market for around 21 years – is regarded by Czech Minister for Industry and Trade, Jan Mládek, as useful reference and calling card for other Czech companies seeking to launch or develop business in the Samara region, sited in the south-east of the Russian federation.

The Czech company is already looking to widen its production at Togliatti to sensors for cars as well as the current spark plugs. Altogether, Russian production represents around a tenth of that produced in the Czech Republic.

Company managers say that the expansion in Russia in no way threatens to curb its growth in the Czech Republic. Brisk is still hiring locally though often has to rely on workers hired through recruitment agencies to fill in the gaps in the workforce.

Brisk Tábor was originally created in 1992 as part of the wave of privatizations from what was originally the Jiskra company. It has developed into one of the world’s top five producers of spark plugs.

The official launch of the Togliatti production line was attended by deputy Russian industry minister, Alexander Morozov. The meeting with his Czech counterpart was used to discuss bilateral investment opportunities with a view to the looming bilateral intergovernmental Czech-Russian talks between industry ministers.