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Bridgestone to invest B6.2bn

Hirunya: Japanese show confidence in Thailand

Bridgestone Corporation is investing 6.2 billion baht to set up production of aircraft tyres in Thailand, according to the Board of Investment.

The BoI yesterday approved incentives for Bridgestone's expansion plan, which includes two projects worth 6.2 billion baht.

The combined expansion amounts to 109,000 tyres a year, the BoI said in a release.

"The expansion plan of Bridgestone reflects Japanese investors' confidence in Thailand," said BoI secretary-general Hirunya Suchinai.

She said Bridgestone, a major tyre manufacturer, decided to expand production in Thailand after selecting the country as a production base to serve demand in Asean markets.

The first project involves aircraft tyre and coated fabric production. The project will need an investment of 4.7 billion baht and will be located in Rayong.

Aircraft tyre production requires advanced technology, as the tyres must be able to withstand heavy weight, high pressure and heat.

Bridgestone said it in its application submitted to the BoI that the project will adopt high technology which will make its aircraft tyres not only highly durable, but also safer and more economical for fuel consumption.

"[Bridgestone's] targets are those leading aircraft makers like Airbus and Boeing, as well as the leading global airlines," Mrs Hirunya said.

The second project is for retreading aircraft tyres with an investment worth 1.49 billion baht. This factory will be located in Chon Buri.

The project will involve the process of retreading three-month used tyres to stretch the lifespan of the tyres.

Mrs Hirunya said Bridgestone has agreed to collaborate with Thai educational institutes by allowing students to train on the company's production lines.

The four institutions that will take part in the programme are Suranaree University of Technology, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi, King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok (Rayong Campus) and Burapha University.

Mrs Hirunya said several companies in the aviation industry have expressed interest in investing in production of components and parts in Thailand, and some are interested in opening aviation training centres here.

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