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2 Subic firms expanding amid downturn

Vol. XXII, No. 186-A [ BusinessWorld Online ]

Saturiday, April 25, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES


Two Japanese firms in the Subic Freeport have started plans to expand facilities despite the economic downturn, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said in a statement yesterday.

Koryo Subic, Inc., a manufacturer of molded plastic products for electronics, will be spending P180 million to construct and equip a new building beside its factory at the freeport, the Subic free port operator said.

The firm has been tapped by Sony Corp., to supply components for a 2010 digital camera model.

Koryo Subic, however, will not be hiring new workers as the crisis is said to have left the firm with excess manpower.

Koryo Subic factory manager Shin-Ichi Suzuki said the new building would be used as an environment-friendly "clean room facility" for the painting of molded plastic products. "The new painting facility will feature a controlled environment that will be somewhat be more advanced than our current painting process," he added.

Another Japanese firm, Hitachi Terminals Mechatronics Philippines Corp., meanwhile, unveiled its new 3,564-square-meter warehouse last week, the SBMA said.

The manufacturer of automated teller machines aims to "promote operational efficiency" with the expansion, SBMA quoted Hitachi Asia Ltd. general manager Hitoshi Goto as saying.

Hitachi Terminals Mechatronics was the free port’s largest exporter in 2008, with a total export value of $76 million, higher than 2007’s $22 million.

Subic Techno Park chief Ichiro Tsuji said the Subic Freeport remains very attractive to Japanese investors.

"Japanese companies have been notably aggressive in the past two years," Mr. Tsuji said, citing the support of the Japanese government which had funded both the Subic-Clark-Tarlac tollway and the Subic Container Port Terminal.

"Hitachi’s new warehouse was designed as part of the firm’s business strategy to control cost and improve its efficiency to be able to compete strongly," said Hitachi Terminals Mechatronics president Kiyotaka Adachi.

"The inauguration of this new warehouse marks the start for [Hitachi] to compete in the global market despite worldwide financial difficulties," Mr. Adachi said. — J.A.D. Hermosa and Rey Garcia

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