February 10, 2015 / 11:36 AM / 4 years ago

Seagate to invest $470 mln in Thailand over next 5 years

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Hard-drive maker Seagate Technology Plc (STX.O) said on Tuesday it planned to invest 15.3 billion baht ($470 million) in Thailand over the next five years to expand capacity at its largest facility in the country.

Seagate will construct a new building, which will be operational in 2016, at its plant in Korat, some 160 miles (255 km) northeast of the Thai capital of Bangkok.

The new building will expand its Korat facility, already Seagate’s largest hard drive manufacturing campus by 49 percent and add about 2,500 jobs, said Jeffrey Nygaard, senior vice president and global head of operations.

Thailand is a big Southeast Asian manufacturing base for hard drives, along with China and Malaysia.

In Thailand, Seagate was established in 1983 and currently has two production plants with about 16,400 employees, around 12,100 of whom are based in Korat.

“For more than 30 years, Seagate has invested in Thailand as a strategic location for our global operations and the new building at our facility at Korat will enable Seagate to address the continued strong demand for storage,” Nygaard told a news conference.

He cited Thailand’s work force, location and favorable cost structure as the reason why Seagate invests there. Asia contributes over 40 percent of the company’s entire revenue last year, Nygaard said.

Seagate has applied for eight projects with a combined value of 55.6 billion baht since 2007, said Ajarin Pattanapanchai, senior executive adviser of Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI), a government agency that promotes local and foreign investment.

Seagate was spared devastating flooding in 2011 as its plants are far away from the high water in central provinces and northern Bangkok. Competitor Western Digital’s (WDC.O) two plants were forced to suspend operations.

Reporting by Pairat Temphairojana; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Keith Weir

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