Thailand’s largest calcium carbonate producer and distributor, SurintOmya Chemicals (Thailand) Co, is investing 1.2 billion baht to expand its capacity in Thailand and Vietnam.
Chief executive Sasis Monsereenusorn said the company had invested 550 million baht in expanding its calcium carbonate production capacity to 560,000 tonnes per year from 360,000 tonnes at its existing plant in Lop Buri.
The new capacity will be operational by August.
The company expects its sales to grow by 10% this year from one billion baht last year. Growth is expected to double next year following the capacity increase.
The company has also invested another 250 million in setting up a calcite crushing plant at its mining and production complex in Lop Buri. The plant would initially have the capacity to crush 700,000 tonnes a year, which would increase to two million tonnes in the future.
The remaining 400 million baht would be injected into its first overseas production plant in Vietnam. The plant, located in HCM City, would produce 100,000 tonnes of calcium carbonate per year. It is expected to start operations by the end of this year.
Sasis said it was the first expansion for the company, a joint venture between local firm Surint Co and Switzerland-based Omya Chemicals, since the economic crisis in 1997 and would tap rising demand.
Currently, Thailand consumes 800,000 tonnes of calcium carbonate per year on par with the combined production output from 10 local firms. However, the company’s capacity expansion aims to serving rising demand for specific applications.
Calcium carbonate is generally used as a raw material in several industries, including the plastics, paper, paint and animal feed industries.
Sasis said the company would launch a product to use in plastic bag production to help speed up the breakdown of plastic waste. Calcium carbonate can also improve soil quality and thus crop yields.
”These applications will help us distribute our new capacity smoothly, our sales growth will also be maintained, while there will be no need to beat up the domestic competition,” he said.
SurintOmya holds the largest market share of 60% of the total domestic market, follow by Calcium Products Co and FMT (Thailand).