12/24/2010

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THAILAND: Bridgestone to expand plant output - B5.95 billion for plants in Saraburi, Chon Buri

Bridgestone Corporation plans to increase the capacity at its truck and bus radial tyre manufacturing facilities in Thailand, underlining its commitment to Thailand.Japan's largest automobile tyre maker is expanding its plant in Nong Khae, Saraburi, and opening a precure tread facility in Chon Buri, making Thailand an important base for Bridgestone global operations.The capacity at the Bridgestone Tire Manufacturing (Thailand) Co (BTMT) plant in Chon Buri will be raised to 10,500 truck and bus tyres daily by the first half of 2014 from the existing capacity of 8,000. The total investment will be approximately 16.6 billion yen (5.95 billion baht).Bridgestone started its Chon Buri operations in 2004 as a base to export its truck and bus tyre products to the United States, Europe and Asia. "However, with global truck and bus radial tire demand expected to increase over the medium to long term, Bridgestone has determined that increases in production capacity are necessary," said the company.BTMT is capitalised with 6.92 billion baht, wholly owned by Bridgestone and employs about 1,400 workers.Another Bridgestone subsidiary, Thai Bridgestone Co, operates two tyre plants at Rangsit in Pathum Thani and Nong Khae in Saraburi.Bridgestone announced recently that Thai Bridgestone will invest 21.3 billion yen (7.64 billion baht) to expand its Nong Khae plant and increase daily production capacity of passenger car radial tyres and light truck radial tyres by 13,500 units to 50,000 units by the end of 2014.In January 2008, a project to increase the Nong Khae plant's daily production capacity by approximately 6,000 units was started and is scheduled to be completed by 2011. However, with global demand expected to continue to grow, Bridgestone determined that further expansion of the plant is necessary to meet market demands.Thai Bridgestone is capitalised with 400 million baht, is 69.2%-owned by Bridgestone and employs 3,360 workers.Bridgestone recently opened a plant in Chon Buri costing 1.58 billion baht to produce precured tread, a key component in the tyre retreading process.Bridgestone Bandag Manufacturing (Thailand) Co (BBMT), wholly owned by Bridgestone, runs the new plant that began operations last month (Nov. 2010) and will supply precured tread to growing markets in Japan and China.The plant is forecast to turn out 30 tonnes per day by the end of 2013.It is the first precured tread facility Bridgestone has built since acquiring the US-based tyre retread operating company, Bandag Incorporated, in 2007.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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