Bridgestone To Invest In Thailand Too
Bridgestone is to invest 12.6 billion Thai Baht (256.79 m Euros) to raise output in Thailand of tyres, cord and carbon black, in order to meet expected rising global demand.
Two projects, worth five billion Baht (102.1 m Euros) are still to be approved by Bridgestone’s Board of Investment, while others have already been rubber stamped by the BoI.Projects awaiting approval include one to almost treble annual tyre production at the Nong Khae factory in Saraburi from 3.
5 million units to 9.8 million and another to expand steel cord production at a factory on the east coast. This would see output more than triple to 28,000 tonnes a year, half of which would go for export.
These projects are valued at three billion Baht (61.3 m Euros) and 1.8 billion Baht (36.
9 m Euros) respectively.According to Tomohiko Yoshimoto, who heads up the Bridgestone group of seven companies in Thailand, Bridgestone has been attracted to Thailand by the more stable economic and political situation in the country, compared with some other countries in Asia, and by the increased level of investment by car manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota.Of the projects which have been given the nod, one is for a 1.
7 billion Baht (34.7 m Euros) carbon black production plant, which would produce 40,000 tonnes a year of mostly premium quality product for use in tyre manufacturing, up to 90 per cent of which would be exported. Expansion has also taken place at Bridgestone’s anti-vibration rubber and hose plant, to the tune of 150 million Baht (3.
06 m Euros).Six billion Baht (122.5 m Euros) has been earmarked to build a third factory in Chon Buri (which is also the location of the steel cord factory) to produce radial truck and bus tyres.
Production is expected to begin next April, reaching maximum annual capacity of 900,000 tyres later in the year.Mr. Yoshimoto said that domestic demand for tyres in Thailand should increase by 10 to 15 per cent annually over the next five years, while demand in developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, is growing by at least 5 per cent a year, roughly twice the average annual growth.
Some pundits are predicting a shortage of carbon black within five years. This makes the case for investing in Thailand more obvious, but Bridgestone is also investing in China, where it is building a third factory, although there are some political question marks and, recently, the SARS outbreak to contend with.If all the investment plans get the go-ahead, then the number of people employed by the Bridgestone group in Thailand will grow from 3,600 to 5,500.
The flagship company Thai Bridgestone had revenues of 13.3 billion Baht (271.9 m Euros) last year and this is forecast to grow to 14 billion Baht (286.