Komatsu states export goal for new plant
Komatsu of Japan, one of the world's largest manufacturers of construction, mining and utility equipment, inaugurated its new plant in Thailand yesterday and made a 90% export goal.
Komatsu's facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art technology including robot and machining units to assemble excavators, said Bangkok Komatsu chairman Phornthep Phornprapha.
Export are slated for 27 countries worldwide, with more than 12,000 Thai-built excavators already shipped.
He added that, while the export market is growing, the local market reflects the lack of state megaprojects like irrigation, highways and hydro-power dams.
''Local demand for excavators is currently 1,300 units per year, very different from the demand before 1996 because the government lacks the budget to fund projects,'' said Mr Phornthep.
In addition, he said demand for excavators is reduced by permitting imports of 4,000-5,000 used units per year. He suggested the government should adopt the approach of Indonesia and ban the import of old excavators.
The company's existing plant at Amata Industrial Park in Churi is operated by Bangkok Komatsu Co, a 75:25 joint venture between Komatsu and Siam Motors Works owned by Siam Motors Group.
Komatsu has invested 700 million baht this year to expand this plant's annual production capacity from 3,500 to 6,000 hydraulic excavators. Next year it plans to invest another 300 million baht to bring capacity up to 9,000 units.
Mr Phornthep said this year the company is still marketing 20-tonne excavators and backhoe loaders as its product flagship. But it is also producing 13-, 16- and 30-tonne excavators this year, and will produce 22- and 40-tonne machines next years. Wheel loaders will also be built in Thailand to shipped to the US.
Mr Phornthep said the company posted a total revenue of 7.7 billion baht last year and is expected to make 1-1.2 billion baht this year. He said the company remained confident of high sales _ especially in the export market _ despite the unstable local economic and political outlook and the impact on production costs of raw material costs, fuel prices and foreign exchange trends.
Masahiro Sakane, chairman of Komatsu, said excavators produced in Thailand use 45% local content but this percentage will be raised to 65% next year. Three more Japanese parts suppliers from the Midori Kai Group will build their plants in Thailand next year, joining four existing suppliers. Members of the group have stakes in Komatsu.
Currently, Komatsu in Thailand, Japan and China have the lowest costs for excavator production among 14 Komatsu affiliates in 14 countries.