“Our idea is to emerge as a dominant global player covering the entire rubber business cycle as fast as we can and in the most credible manner,” says Luckchai Kittipol, the company’s ever dynamic founder and CEO.
The latest plans include major marketing forays into China and India, the emerging power centres of global rubber industry and ambitious plantation initiatives in potential Asian countries. For instance, in Laos, the company will be investing US$50 million to develop NR plantations in 40,000 hectares during the current decade.
Thai Hua Rubber has a full-fledged registered company in Shanghai named Rubber Focus Co. Ltd. The company’s involvement with the Indian market is more than 15 years old. It has its representative in Mumbai and is in close association with All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA).
According to Kittipol, who is heading the Thai Rubber Association for a second consecutive term, the company will continue increasing its export volume to China and India in the backdrop of the growing demand for NR and the highly positive GDP growth of the two countries. If the latest move by India to allow NR imports from Thailand at reduced import tariff materialises, it would certainly provide a golden opportunity for companies like THR to gain a decisive foothold in the Indian market.
The company at present has 15 manufacturing facilities capable of producing more than 450,000 tonnes a year of various NR grades including Ribbed Smoked Sheets (RSS), Standard Thailand Rubber (STR), latex 60% drc, compound rubber and CMB. The company has a strength of 3,500 dedicated employees.
“We attribute our success to our leadership and vision. The vision is to emerge as one of the world’s top rubber companies covering the entire spectrum of rubber business,” says Kittipol adding that the company continues to concentrate on efficiency with an uncompromising focus on customer satisfaction.
“Ours is a continuous effort to match international quality through systematic management of the entire business and deepest concern for environmental aspects,” Kittipol told Rubber Asia.
Over the years, Thai Hua has established a solid clientele base both at home and abroad. Its prestigious buyers range from small rubber dealers to some of the world’s most well-known companies such as Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Pirelli, Yokohama, Triangle, Cooper-Chengshan, Shanghai Tire, Grandtour Tire, Hankook, Kumho, Apollo, Ceat, J.K and MRF.
The company currently exports to various worldwide destinations such as China, Japan, Korea, India, Europe and U.S. with maximum exports of 25% to China.
The Thai rubber scenario
Thai rubber industry is on a rejuvenated track of late thanks to the government’s promotional campaigns. According to the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), Thailand’s NR production is to grow by 4.6% in 2007 to touch 3,105,000 tonnes as against 2,968,000 tonnes in 2006. The projection for the year 2009 is 3,170,000 tonnes.
THR group has maintained its leadership in the Thai NR plantation sector for the last 10 years. Perhaps, the most ambitious initiative of THR is its plantation forays into Laos where the group has launched a 60:40 JV, namely, Lao Thai Hua Rubber Co., with the New Chip Xeng Holding Company last year.
The company’s rubber plantation project is to cover 40,000 ha in the provinces of Vientiane, Xayaboury, Borikhamxay, Savannakhet and Khammuan provinces of Laos. According to reports, nearly 6000 ha have already been planted. In the ensuing rainy season, the company hopes to cover 4000 ha on its own and another 2000 ha under contract farming.
It is reported that the company had already reached an agreement with farmers for buying both raw rubber and trees from the farmers after harvesting at the market price existing at that time. The expected income for farmers who plant rubber trees and sell their products to the company is US$2,000 a year.