May 13, 2017 2:00 am JST

Rubber maker Sri Trang eyes 20% capacity boost this year

Thai giant looking to expand as natural-rubber prices bottom out

MARIMI KISHIMOTO, Nikkei staff writer

BANGKOK -- Sri Trang Agro-Industry, the world's largest producer of natural rubber, plans to increase annual capacity by 20% to 2.9 million tons by year-end to take advantage of a market recovery.

The company accounts for about 30% of output in its home market of Thailand, the largest rubber-producing country. It aims to expand its global market share from 12% now to 20% in two to five years, said Veerasith Sinchareonkul, an executive director.

Sri Trang will invest 2.5 billion baht to 3 billion baht ($72.1 million to $86.5 million) in new production lines, including new manufacturing facilities for sheet, block and liquid rubber in northeastern Thailand with annual capacity totaling 86,000 tons. Capacity at Indonesian facilities will be raised by 60,000 tons.

The company also intends to step up output of medical gloves made from natural rubber, of which it is among the top five manufacturers worldwide.

Sri Trang operates 35 plants and owns rubber plantations spanning 80 million sq. meters. Consolidated sales grew 26% on the year to 77.2 billion baht for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31. The company booked a net loss of more than 700 million baht, down from a 1.1 billion baht profit in fiscal 2015.

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