Nippon Steel & Sumikin to build Thai industrial parks

TOKYO -- Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumikin Bussan plans to develop two industrial parks near a major port in Thailand, looking to tap demand expected from the year-end launch of the ASEAN Economic Community.

The steel products trader will invest 2.2 billion baht ($62.8 million) through a local affiliate, Rojana Industrial Park Public.

Construction of the Rojana Chonburi facility has already begun. Located alongside a national road 30km east of the Laem Chabang port, the 2.2 million-sq.-meter industrial park is to be completed in the second half of 2016.

The other complex, Rojana Laem Chabang, is slated to cover 1.8 million sq. meters within 10km of the port. Construction will begin this fiscal year, with a handover to tenants expected in the second half of 2017.

The AEC's launch is expected to encourage businesses to reorganize production bases and supply chains. It also likely will boost Thailand's profile as a manufacturing hub.

The two industrial parks will be suitable for loading and unloading due to their proximity to the port. They are expected to house over 50 companies, with Japanese businesses accounting for about 60%.

Rojana Industrial Park will run six such facilities when these two are completed. The company is set to become the No. 3 industrial park developer in Thailand by area, with about 34.2 million sq. meters.

For the six months through June, Thailand's Board of Investment received 26.8 billion baht worth of project applications from foreign businesses. The figure represents an 89% year-on-year plunge, apparently in reaction to the last-minute surge of applications before changes to tax incentives and other investment rules took effect in January.