Asahi Techno Vision to close Singapore plant

The Asahi Techno Vision (ATV) plant at Tuas in Singapore will close by the end of June 2007 with the loss of 400 jobs. ATV blamed the closure on declining demand for the company“s main product of CRT…

The Asahi Techno Vision (ATV) plant at Tuas in Singapore will close by the end of June 2007 with the loss of 400 jobs. ATV blamed the closure on declining demand for the company“s main product of CRT television glass, which has been made obsolete by newer technologies such as liquid crystal displays. According to an employee, the company stopped hiring new staff two years ago and the first batch of redundancies, numbering over 200, was in July 2006. The firm is still formulating a severance package and trying to help workers find jobs in similar industries. LCD glass manufacturers were keen to hire the Asahi workers, said the ATV employee. But some staff “worry about whether they can draw a salary as much as the present one”, she said. In its heyday, ATV employed over 1,000 workers in Singapore, where it was set up in 1985. As one of the world“s largest producers of glass panels, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan“s Asahi Glass supplied customers such as Hitachi and Sony. Besides closing the Tuas factory, ATV is also withdrawing from Chonburi, Thailand. Similar exits have taken place since 2004 in Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan, decreasing total production capacity by 70%. The few factories left are in China and South Korea. Asahi has projected that demand for glass panels would fall to between 120 and 130 million units by the end of 2007, compared to 200 million units in 2006. Asahi“s move reflects a structural readjustment of Singapore“s manufacturing industry, which has lost out to lower-cost manufacturing centres around the region.