Thai Summit awaits EEC clarity
Thai Summit Harness Plc, a subsidiary of auto parts maker Thai Summit Group, is still awaiting clearer details about the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) before expanding in the region, particularly with regard to electric vehicles (EVs), says executive vice-president Saroge Vasuvanich.
He said the company plans an increase in efficiency of projects and R&D to prepare for EV investment, adding that the company could have total revenue of 110 billion baht within the next five years, up from 80 billion.
“We have seen investors saying they are interested in the EEC,” Mr Saroge said. “However, we have not yet seen any real investment there, particularly in the 10 targeted industries. That has made us wait for a clearer direction before starting investment in the EEC.”
The 10 targeted industries are next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemical; digital; and medical services.
The EEC is the government’s flagship policy to create special economic zones spanning 30,000 rai in the three eastern provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao and promote investment in the 10 targeted industries.
Thai Summit Group has 40 subsidiaries producing parts for major assemblers, including Toyota, Suzuki, Volvo, Ducati and Honda.
Major clients include car assemblers (88%) and motorcycle makers (10%), with the rest consisting of electric appliance producers, Mr Saroge said.
He said the company is producing some EV parts for global carmakers such as Tesla Motors and has spent a certain amount of budget on EV R&D and created more human resources to be ready for the production of EVs if needed.
“If the EEC project is clear that the region is ready for investment with appropriate rules, regulations and investment privileges, we will be ready to start investing in EV immediately by that time,” Mr Saroge said.
He said the company has invested a certain amount of budget in increasing the number of automation systems and in robotics to help cut production costs and increase production efficiency.
The company has 1,800 robots as part of automation systems, up from 900 robots a few years ago, Mr Saroge said.
In 2017, the company has set aside 5 billion baht to increase efficiency and is expected to spend about the same amount next year.
Mr Saroge said the company is also in talks with a foreign auto parts maker for a possible merger or acquisition that would help increase productivity.