Japan's Toto to double sanitary ware production in Thailand

BANGKOK, NNA - Leading Japanese toilet maker Toto Ltd. is boosting its sanitary ware production capacity in Thailand to meet global demand as well as potential domestic market needs.

Toto (Thailand) Co., its wholly owned subsidiary, said it is planning to complete the construction of its second factory in the country in April 2019 to nearly double annual output capacity to 870,000 units with a 2.88 billion baht ($88 million) investment.

The new plant under construction will produce 420,000 units in addition to 450,000 units at the adjacent first plant in an industrial park in the central province of Saraburi. Thailand will be the fourth-largest manufacturing base for the Toto group after Japan, China and Vietnam.

The subsidiary will hire 600 workers, about a half of the 1,100 at the first plant, as the manufacturing process is more automated at the new facility amid a tightening labor market in the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia.

Hiroyuki Suzuki, president of the local arm, said the new plant will mainly serve overseas markets, particularly Southeast Asia, the United States and Japan, as does the first plant that exports up to 90 percent of its total output.

But Toto, which usually sells high-end products, also expects the second Thai factory to help strengthen the Japanese brand's position in the local market in line with growing income among the middle class, which could help improve the affordability of Toto products.

The 100-year-old Japanese company has recently opened a technical center in Bangkok to showcase and promote products to real estate firms and designers. (NNA/Kyodo)