Magna founder eyes E-Cars and cattle breeding

Frank Stronach has revealed plans to move into forestry and cattle breeding as the Magna founder launched a scathing attack on American companies over the conditions they keep their herds in.Stronach said: “I’m planning to buy 20,000 hectares of woods in (the US state of) Florida. The climate is excellent there.”Speaking about his intentions to breed cattle, the 78-year-old founder of car parts maker Magna revealed: “My cattle will be kept on huge areas throughout the year. They won’t be treated with hormones. People love to eat meat. I want them to change their way of thinking.”The multi-millionaire further explained speaking to Austrian weekly magazine News: “The protection and fair treatment of animals matters a lot to me. I know we are not yet civilised when I think of the way we keep animals. There’s no reason to torture an animal.”Cattle breeding in the USA is a very negative example. Thousands of animals are kept at very small areas. They get hormones and can hardly move.”Magna, the Austrian-Canadian firm Stronach founded after migrating to Canada, is the market-leading car parts supplier of the global automobile industry. The firm, which is headed by Austrian Siegfried Wolf today, reported a turnover of 182 million Euros for the first quarter of this year.Stronach, who holds a 0.8 per cent share in the company, also announced his vision to become a key player in developing electric cars.”I can imagine investing 80 million US dollars (65 million Euros) as a first step, with Magna contributing 220 millions (180 million Euros). (…) E-Cars are a big issue, and I want to be in charge,” he said.Stronach, who heads and finances Austrian football Bundesliga club Magna Wiener Neustadt, further said he was optimistic electric cars would make around 10 per cent of all vehicles in ten years. The Styrian added he could imagine one in two cars being E-Cars in 20 years.”You don’t have to be a scientist to realise that we’ll run out of oil sooner rather than later. I see a great future ahead for the electric car,” he said.Stronach revealed he had already received invitations from “several countries” interested in being the location where his E-Cars will be produced. Asked whether Austria was among them, the Magna founder remained tight-lipped.”I’ll approach the Austrian government soon to inform it of our plans,” he said, stressing that no decision has been made yet where the E-Cars will be developed and built.Stronach denied the claim he regarded creating his own E-Car as the icing on the cake of his life achievements. “Spending money isn’t everything. I want to save jobs and create new positions,” he said.Magna Europe recently put back thousands of employees at its Graz plant back in full-time work as the firm registered a sharp increase in orders.One of the most spectacular cars leaving conveyor belts at the Magna Steyr factory is the 200,000-Euro Rapide, the first Aston Martin model built outside the United Kingdom. The first few dozen of the 2,000 477-horsepower cars produced at the Graz-Thalerhof plant have already been shipped to retailers.Other current projects Magna workers in Graz have been kept busy with are the production of sports car Peugeot RCZ, while construction of a new small off-road BMW will start this summer.An overall 100,000 cars will be built throughout 2010 at the site which is regarded as one of the most important factors of the region’s industry.Magna agreed with General Motors (GM) bosses about taking over of Opel in a pre-contract last year, before the US firm decided to keep its struggling European subsidiary.