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Thai-Asahi: reopening plans for Rayong plant

According to company president Akio Takabe, Thai-Asahi Glass intends to reopen its Rayong plant in order to boost sheet-glass production by 50% over the next two years. The plant was shut down in 1998…

According to company president Akio Takabe, Thai-Asahi Glass intends to reopen its Rayong plant in order to boost sheet-glass production by 50% over the next two years. The plant was shut down in 1998, only shortly after it had been completed, as a result of the economic crisis in the region. The reopening has been facilitated by the majority takeover of the firm by Japan“s Asahi Glass. Thai-Asahi Glass will face continuing competition from traditional rival Siam Guardian, the wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based Guardian Industries. The Rayong plant has a daily production capacity of 500 tonnes of sheet glass. Re-opening the plant would mean a 50% increase in Thai-Asahi“s total output and would involve the creation of 300-500 jobs. However, since annual domestic glass demand is currently around only 60% of the 1996 peak of 360,000 tonnes, Takabe said the Rayong plant would have to gear mainly towards the export market. In order to sell outside Thailand, Takabe said the plant would re-tool for the manufacture of high-tech glass in thicknesses of under one millimetre alongside its traditional output of commodity glass in thicknesses of up to eight millimetres. Takabe also forecast revenue growth of 15-20% this year due to the production of higher value-added products, though the sales volume would only increase by 5%.

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