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Closed Thai fabs to open early next year

Posted: 08 Nov 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Thailand floods? industrial estates?

The seven industrial estates in Thailand that were inundated by the massive floods are expected to resume operations early next year, said Suparp Khleekachai, an assistant to the industry minister of Thailand.

Khleekachai reported that officials and�investors�met to explore ways of restoring the flood-hit industrial estates. During the meeting it was scheduled that the estates will pump water out of their flooded premises on November 10. After the water is drained, it would take about one month for them to complete the clean-up work and another three to four months to repair damaged machinery.

They expect that the seven industrial areas will gradually resume their operations and productions early next year, Khleekachai said.

According to Khleekachai, the government has prepared measures to help both the operators of the industrial estates and the factories in their rehabilitation as the process will be quite expensive. Measures would also be taken to prevent the industrial estates from flooding again in the future.

As much as $39.1 billion (1.2 billion baht) would be needed�to build a flood prevention system at Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya alone,�Khleekachai said.

The Federation of Thai Industries president Payungsak Chartsuthipol said eight working committees has been set up to plan the�restoration of industries damaged by floods.

Seven of the committees were to work on the rehabilitation of the seven devastated industrial estates, while the other committee will be in charge in the rehabilitation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) outside the estates.

Chartsuthipol added that the committees would coordinate with government and private agencies, including the local Provincial Electricity Authority, to help bring�the industrial estates back into operation as soon as possible.

Toshiba Corp. may already be able to restart some of its flood-hit operations in Thailand early in 2012 and may be fully up and running by March, said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, chairwoman of Toshiba Thailand.

Japan's Toshiba had to halt operations at nine production plants at the Bangkadi Industrial Park and another plant at the Nava Nakorn estate, both in Pathum Thani province to the north of Bangkok. Bangkadi is Toshiba's main production center in Southeast Asia. Its factories there make home appliances, semiconductors and lighting products.

"The water level has now receded by about 10-15cm at Bangkadi," Wattanavrangkul said. "Right now we haven't been able to drain the water out because the water outside is still high. However, we do expect to begin the process by the middle of this month," she added.

Wattanavrangkul, who is also chairwoman of the Bangkadi estate and which Toshiba owns, said Toshiba should then be able to restart some of its production there in January.

Toshiba has begun producing hard disk drives in the Philippines as an alternative to Thailand.

Around 50 percent of the global hard disk drive assembly is carried out in Thailand. Western Digital Corp., Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Toshiba have the highest exposure in the country.

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