UPDATE 1-Apple supplier Catcher eyes China plant reopening

Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:20am EDT

* Plant improvement work to be finished by month-end

* Plant to reopen after inspections

TAIPEI Oct 26 (Reuters) - Catcher Technology , a casing supplier for Apple Inc , said a plant in China that was ordered closed due to complaints about pollution could fully reopen as early as next month.

It said in a statement that all improvement work at the plant and on equipment would be finished by the end of the month and the plant would reopen after approval from authorities. Official inspections of the improvement work had started on Wednesday, it said.

Catcher said on Oct. 16 it had been told to halt production at the plant in Suzhou, in eastern China, because of complaints from nearby residents about strong odours from gas emissions. It later added the closure would affect October sales by 20 percent.

Its shares fell by the daily maximum allowed for three straight sessions after the news.

The case came amid renewed scrutiny of Apple's suppliers in China.

State broadcaster CCTV aired a programme on Oct 16 in which its reporters visited suppliers that Chinese environmental groups had said in August were thought to be doing business with Apple and had lax environmental standards.

The August report, by a coalition of Chinese environmental organisations including Friends of Nature and the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, said 27 companies thought to be Apple suppliers had severe pollution problems, from toxic gases to heavy metal sludge.