Ocean Glass gears for 20% lift in output

As part of a big push into Southeast Asian glass markets, Ocean Glass Plc is buying two new forming machines and is updating its Thai factory at a cost of Bt670 million in order to raise production by 20 per cent.

Managing director Supawan Kanyaprasith said the new machines would be operational by the middle of next year and raise the company's capacity to 150 million pieces a year."Today we are running at 100 per cent of production capacity and we need more facilities to support the company's expansion plan," she said.

"Eighty per cent of the expenditure to increase production capacity will come from bank loans while the rest will be from our cash flow," she said, adding that the loans will take the company's debt-to-equity ratio from 0.3 to 1.

Supawan said Ocean Glass was expecting revenue of Bt1.28 billion this year, rising to Bt1.4 billion in 2005 and Bt1.65 billion in 2006.

The firm's marketing and sales manager Suphote Sriudomporn said Ocean Glass wouldbe more aggressive in Southeast Asia because free-trade arrangements and sales potential made the region a prime target for its products.

"Southeast Asia is expected to be a rapid growth market and we aim to be one of the leaders in this region," he said.

Ocean glassware is sold in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma, but these markets take only 10 per cent of its products.

Ocean Glass makes pressed products such as tumblers and storage jars, blown products such as bowls and mugs and stemware products such as wine and champagne glasses. It targets the food service, retail and premium markets.

Suphote said the company's main rivals in the Southeast Asian market are European and American exporters, which are known for their high quality and classy design.

But Ocean Glass has an advantage in the Asean Free-Trade Area (Afta) agreement that is bringing in lower export tax rates.

"We are charged only 5 per cent tax on exports to Malaysia and the Philippines while European exporters must pay 20 per cent. Singapore is a free market for every exporter with zero tax charged," he said.

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