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Toshiba Thailand to build $33B factory

Posted: 27 Mar 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Thai floods? supply chain? Bangkadi Industrial Park?

Toshiba Thailand is investing around $32.61 million (1 billion baht) to build a new factory in Thailand, affirming its confidence in the country. Last year, Thailand was devastated by massive floods that impacted the electronics supply chain.

Even though a dyke is being built around Bangkadi Industrial Park in Pathum Thani province where Toshiba's former factory was located, the company plans to build its new factory in a different location to lessen its flood risks. Toshiba Thailand is a co-owner and major tenant of the estate.

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, chairwoman of Toshiba Thailand, did not disclose investment details but said that the products to be made at the new factory are important components for Toshiba's high-end electrical appliance lines. She added that the plant will have a production capacity of 2 million pieces a year.

The company plans to rent one or two warehouses elsewhere to reduce risk from Pathum Thani's flood-prone areas.

"Floods and insurance are the top two concerns among Japanese investors so far," Wattanavrangkul said. "They are confident in the government's flood-prevention plan but closely watching the progress at the same time," she added.

Japanese investors have also expressed their concerns on the on-going worker shortage and rising labour costs in Thailand.

Toshiba's new factory will be equipped with more state-of-the-art machinery and will focus on making higher-value products.

Wattanavrangkul also noted that all of Toshiba's nine subsidiaries will be operational within the next 12 months. Just last month, the company has resumed the operations of its washing machine and lighting factories at 20 percent and 25 percent capacity respectively.

"While many Toshiba products are in short supply due to the impact of the serious floods, our sales from October 2011-March 2012 are expected to show 7 percent growth YoY," Wattanavrangkul said. She sees this as a sign the economy and purchasing power of the people have rebounded quickly.

Toshiba Thailand's sales in its fiscal 2011 ending this March 31 are expected to approach $293.44 million (9 billion baht). The company also forecasts a 15 percent increase in sales next year.

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