16/09/2010

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THAILAND: Rubber parts demand on rise - Maker sees sales double in three years

N.C.R. Rubber Co, one of Thailand's largest rubber product manufacturers, is upbeat about the continued bright outlook for construction, projecting its sales to double to 6 billion baht over the next three years.The construction boom, driven by the economic recovery and the government's plan to continue with massive infrastructure projects, particularly mass transit, benefits raw construction materials industries, said NCR managing director Suwat Boonbandansook.For example, the government's promotion of gasohol fuel helps the company because it is the first gasohol fuel hose producer in Thailand.The product can accommodate either E20 or E85 gasohol pumps and beefs up NCR's role in the automotive industry. For decades its joint venture, Bridgestone NCR Co, with the Japanese tyremaker Bridgestone manufactured non-tyre rubber products such as air-conditioning hoses and anti-vibration rubber parts."There are about two to three metres of rubber hose in a car. Though they are tiny, a vehicle could not run without them," Mr Suwat said.Government plans for more mass rapid transit in the capital with 88 billion baht worth of extension lines, as well as the Rangsit-Bang Sue route that costs about 70 billion baht, should benefit the company as it supplies bridge bearing parts, pot bearings, and rubber expansion joints for heavy-use industries.The improved economy and the infrastructure programme has attracted more foreign investment to Thailand and NCR has been a recipient, helped by its 50 years in business with an intensive strategy to brand itself as a hose specialist.NCR now uses para and synthetic rubber to feed its 5,000-tonne annual production capacity, which mainly produces 12-13 million metres of hose for domestic and export markets. Its export markets cover 55 countries, in 25 of which it sells products under the NCR brand. Overseas markets will contribute a significant chunk of the company's 3 billion baht in sales revenue this year, he said.Demand this year ensures the company will be able to increase production at its manufacturing facility in Rayong by 25% next year to supply more than 14 million metres of hose. The company aims to increase sales of NCR brand products to 40 countries within three years.Kenya is the latest destination with strong market potential because of the mining industry, which requires strong mandrel-built hoses.The company uses natural rubber products from the South, where white, fine quality rubber is made."Our products are found in gardening hoses, fire extinguishers, and even insecticide cans that use premium grade rubber," he said.However, he manages the risk stemming from volatile para rubber prices by allowing the use of synthetic rubber in the production process.(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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