Opened new production facility
Today His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon undertook the official opening of Jotuns new production facility outside St. Petersburg. Jotun is a long-time supplier of paint to the Russian shipbuilding industry, and many of St. Petersburgs bridges are protected by Jotun coatings.
Crown Prince Haakon was given a guided tour of the facility prior to the opening. As part of the formal opening, the Crown Prince, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Ms Dilek Ayhan, the Governor of the Leningrad Region, Mr Alexander Drozdenko, the First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Ms Svetlana Ivanova, and the Chairman of the Board of Jotun Mr Odd Gleditsch d.y., each pressed a start button on a paint palette.
The opening featured speeches and musical entertainment, including a performance by singer-violinist Alexander Rybak.
Jotun in Russia
Test production is now underway at the new facility, with commercial production scheduled for launch this summer. Jotun has invested some RUB 1.7 billion, or NOK 300 million, in the project, and here the manufacturer can produce 12 million litres of paint and 3 600 tonnes of powder coatings a year. Top-modern machinery and equipment will ensure health-friendly, environmentally sound production.
Some 150 employees will be working at the facility once it is operating at full capacity. Jotun has more than 40 production facilities around the world, with headquarters based in Sandefjord, Norway.
Spoke at a Norwegian-Russian business seminar
Earlier in the day, the Crown Prince participated in the opening of a business seminar in downtown St. Petersburg. In his remarks, he pointed out that many Norwegian companies are choosing to establish themselves in Russia:
An increasing number of Norwegian companies see the potential and are, as a result, investing in Russia. Around 100 Norwegian companies are now well established in Russia. Several Russian companies, such as Lukoil and Rosneft, have established themselves in Norway as well. We hope to see many more in the years to come.
The seminar was attended by more than 350 participants, primarily Norwegian and Russian actors in the business sector, oil and gas industry, and tourism industry. The programme included a networking meeting of the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, a workshop on cooperation in the Arctic and northern areas hosted by INTSOK Norwegian Oil and Gas Partners, and a tourism workshop hosted by Innovation Norway.
Spoke to students
Crown Prince Haakon also spoke to students at Baltic State Technical University (BSTU) today. Several of the universitys former students have become leading experts in rocket and military technology. Graduates of the university also include the renowned cosmonauts Georgy Grechko and Sergei Krikalev.
The Crown Prince began by quoting Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, whose portrait is on display in the auditorium: Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it.
The Crown Prince noted the fruitful cooperation enjoyed by BSTU and the University of Nordland for the past 23 years. More than 100 Russian students have earned a Master of Science in Business through this collaboration. And in recent years, some 20 students from the University of Nordland have been in St. Petersburg studying Russian language and culture or sustainable management each year. This study programme is of particular importance to cooperation in the Arctic and northern areas.
After visiting the university, the Crown Prince met with the Governor of St. Petersburg, Mr Georgy Poltavchenko. The meeting took place at the offices of the city administration at the beautiful Smolny building complex.
Largest market for Norwegian seafood
In the evening local time, Crown Prince Haakon attended a seafood reception at the Russian Ethnography Museum together with representatives of the public authorities, civil society, and trade and industry. Entertainment was provided by the vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval and trumpet player Arve Henriksen.
Russia is the largest, most important market for Norwegian seafood, with salmon, rainbow trout and herring as the primary products. Norway exported approximately 298 000 tonnes of seafood to Russia in 2013.