DANISH paint maker Hempel group, through its local arm Hempel Coatings (M) Sdn Bhd, is investing RM22.4mil in a new marine coating plant in Kluang, Johor.
The move would see the group's sales in Malaysia triple by next year, compared with RM16mil worth in 2002, Hempel managing director for south east Asia, Christian Vang said.
He said the factory would manufacture the latest range of protective coating products for ships and oil rigs, with 80% of its output meant for export . The plant, which will be operational by Jan 23, can produce 7,000 tonnes of paints annually, with future expansion to 26,000 tonnes.
We hope to embark on the second phase of our manufacturing operations in Malaysia as soon as possible,'' he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Vang said Hempel's manufacturing activities in Malaysia was integral to the group's expansion in south east Asia.
South east Asia operations contributed about 13% to 14% to Hempel's worldwide sales, estimated at 450 million euros last year; and with the help of the new plant we expect this to double by 2004 '' he added.
Hempel expects its Asian operations to account for more than 40% of the group's annual turnover by 2010. The Kluang factory is the 3rd plant in south east Asia after those in Indonesia and Singapore.
Malaysia is still very attractive due to its strategic location to international shipping traffic, good infrastructure, educated workforce and incentives for export expansion,'' he said.
Hempel started sales operations in Malaysia in 1950 through trading partners, before setting up its sales arm, Hempel Coatings, in 1996. Its clients includes Petronas, Malaysian International Shipping Corp Bhd and Star Cruises.
Hempel Coatings has 28 workers, most of whom were employed over the last four years, Another 30, mainly Malaysians, will be deployed for the new plant.
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