Thai conglomerate SCG mulls new plants in PH
MANILA, Philippines - Thai conglomerate Siam Cement Group (SCG) plans to put up new factories in the Philippines on the back of the country’s economic growth and population growth-driven consumption.
“I’m very confident in the growth potential of the country. As we have been here for 20 years, I think we’re quite familiar with the upbringing environment, we’re quite familiar with the people. But we hope that the people here embrace us as well. And that seems to be the case,” SCG Paper President Roongrote Rangsiyopash told reporters on Friday at a news briefing during the company’s 100-year celebration in Makati City.
“With this kind of environment, I think our intention is to continue to grow. Our intention is to continue to invest and to put more emphasis in the technology, research and development. That’s the area that I think we can help to grow and also to help the society as well,” he added.
While the company is keen on investing to expand its local capacity, the top executive stressed that they still need to explore the market to push through with the plan.
“We have not decided yet. I think a lot of things will depend on how the market grows. But we are keeping very, very close eyes on how the market is developing,” Rangsiyopash said.
SCG is a leading conglomerate in Southeast Asia from Thailand. Founded by a Royal Decree in 1913, it consists of five core business units: chemicals, paper, cement, building materials and distribution.
The group is present in the Philippines through its subsidiaries: United Pulp and Paper Co. Inc. in SCG Paper, Mariwasa Siam Ceramics, SCT Philippines and CPAC Monier.
With the nation’s significant progress, Rangsiyopash said consumption also increases which, in turn, opens more opportunities for growth since all their products form part of the peoples’ everyday life—from the construction materials to housing, roofing, trading and paper packaging.
Seeing an increased demand in the paper industry, he revealed that the group considers establishing its own tree plantation in the country.
In fact, he said he learned from a recent meeting with their local officers that the government is encouraging conversion, particularly for the industrial plantation that could be used for pulp business.
“That’s something that we like to look after as well. Because the pulp business itself is not only used now for making paper, but it can be used to make some other things as well,” Rangsiyopash said, citing, for instance, the pulp-based textile, tablewares and other construction materials.
The housing sector is also one of the industries that the group is setting its sights on, according to SCG International Business Director Surasak Kraiwitchaicharoen.
“When the population is rising up, there have been some demands in housing. And this is one of our sectors that we’re looking for [growth],” he said. “Someday when the volume is justifiable enough, we might invest in some factory [here]. That’s our direction. But first we have to import and see how the market [grows].”
In the case of fiber cement board, for instance, Kraiwitchaicharoen said they consider a market demand of at least 5 million square meters before they would invest on producing such domestically.
But given the current local demand of 30 million sq m, he said there is a possibility of bringing such construction material locally, together with other technologies such as smart board and other ceramic tiles not produced in the Batangas manufacturing facility of SCG’s subsidiary, Mariwasa Siam Ceramics.
When asked about the markets to be served by the planned new factories in the Philippines, Kraiwitchaicharoen said “whatever we do here, we hope that we can serve the whole Asean market.”
“I think it’s best in line with our strategy for the whole group: We’re expanding; we’re trying to find some growth within Asean; we keep on investing in terms of research and development so that we can increase the percentage of high-value products and services; and, at the same time, we try to do everything on the sustainable basis,” said Rangsiyopash.