Electrolux plans big for Rayong

After only a year in operation of its production facilities in Rayong, the Swedish electrical appliance producer Electrolux is already planning to invest THB 2 billion more to expand the Thai facilities between now and 2006. The company also plans to recruit more staff locally, from presently 200 to more than a thousand over the next two years.
     The world’s largest producer of home appliances has initially invested about THB 500 million in the facilities in Rayong and started manufacturing front-loading washing machines last November. The factory now has the capacity to produce 200,000 washing machines a year.
     Brad Tribble, president of Southeast Asian operations for Electrolux Home Products International, said recently that the new budget for Thailand would allow Electrolux to begin manufacturing other home appliances locally, such as refrigerators and rice cookers.
     “The allocation of another THB 2 billion for our Rayong operations will upgrade the facilities there to a ‘multi-category manufacturing complex’,” he said, adding that Thailand will become a major regional Electrolux production base, joining Australia, China and India.
     “We’ll increase our research and development presence in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia,” said Tribble.
     The major expansion of the company’s Thai facilities is aimed at taking advantage of the various free-trade agreements (FTAs) concluded between Thailand and other countries around the Asia-Pacific region.
     “The FTAs will strengthen our investment here in Thailand,” said Tribble, who expressed a strong belief in free trade, saying it could only serve to boost the Thai economy and benefit local consumers.
     He added that the FTAs would allow Electrolux to increase its exports from Thailand to the rest of the region.
     “FTAs will be significant facilitators for market growth,” said Tribble, adding that Electrolux plans significant growth in its Southeast Asian market share.

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