PATHUM THANI : Toshiba Carrier Corporation is spending 2 billion baht to build a second air-conditioner plant that will be the company's largest worldwide.
The two-storey building, which will sit next to the existing plant at Bangkadi Industrial Park , begins operating next February.
Akio Ozaka, managing director of Toshiba Carrier (Thailand), said the new plant will double production capacity in the next three years.
While Mr Ozaka declined to give details on current capacity, a Toshiba employee said the existing plant makes 1.6 million residential air conditioners a year.
The new plant will produce light-commercial and commercial units, of which 97% will be exported.
Thailand has an edge in terms of export taxes, with a 10% rate for exports to India and 3% to Europe, Mr Ozaka said.
The investment is the first official announcement of expansion by Toshiba since last year's floods. The current plant, which resumed full operations in April, is Toshiba's largest outside of Japan.
Asked whether Toshiba will raise product prices in response to the government's policy to hike minimum wages, Mr Ozaka said the company "does not have such plans at the moment, but we try our best to minimise costs and we will keep a competitive price".
According to Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, chairwoman of Toshiba Thailand Ltd, Bangkadi's dyke is 35% complete and will be finished in August at a height of five metres above sea level.
For the second phase, to be finished by next February, the height will increase to six metres above sea level.
Mrs Kobkarn voiced "100%" certainty that Bangkadi would be safe from floods this year, adding that "our plans are also based on a 100-year cycle".