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UTEX to consolidate operations, bolster base

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A rendering of UTEX's Singapore operations.

HOUSTON—UTEX Industries Inc. plans to consolidate its Singapore operations by constructing a 48,000 sq.-ft. facility that is expected to employ up to 60 by the end of this year.

The company manufactures custom engineered rubber and urethane solutions for a variety of industries.

The investment has been made because UTEX Industries management feels it can better serve its growing customer base in the Asia-Pacific region, while also expanding its market share with an onsite presence, said Charlie Pitts, the firm's business development manager for Asia.

“Our customers want to be able to buy locally,” he said. “Growth has been ongoing there for a number of years, and if we don't support them on the ground, our competitors will.”

UTEX Industries' greatest current growth is coming from an increasing interest in its high-temperature and high-pressure products, including seals and rubber molds, Pitts said.

“Customers are challenging us to increase pressure and temperatures—higher and hotter,” he said. “They're interested in the next generation of materials.”

The new Singapore location will include capabilities in engineering, manufacturing, warehousing, technical support, logistics and more, Pitts said.

Its target customers include automotive and manufacturing original equipment manufacturers.

The Singapore office is expected to support UTEX Industries' operations in the Middle East.

The company has more than 600 employees worldwide with seven manufacturing facilities in the U.S., all located in Texas, and one in Northcumberland, England.

The Houston-based firm has another sales office in Brazil.

UTEX Industries has operated a sales office in Singapore since 2011 that traditionally has been supported by engineering and manufacturing efforts in the U.S.

The new location in the Asia-Pacific region will accommodate the majority of the manufacturing operations required to supply custom rubber molded solutions to the local oil and gas exploration market there.

The company also plans to add full engineering and technical resources to the region to become a true “one-stop-shop experience,” Pitts said.

“We have taken some of our customers through the facility, and there is certainly a "wow' factor there because they are impressed about the scope and the commitment we are making,” Pitts said.

“Fortunately we have experienced enough growth (in recent years) to justify added spending efforts in that region.”

The new employees that will be hired in the coming months are expected to be comprised of residents local to Singapore along with expatriates with technical and engineering experience from such countries as India, China and Burma, along with expatriates from the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Singapore was selected as the location for the facility because of its business-friendly climate, Pitts said, as well as a central location to UTEX Industries' growing Asia-Pacific customer base.

“(Singapore) has done a wonderful job of setting up a friendly environment with a strict code of ethics that makes it easier to get business done,” he said. “There aren't any (financial) games that you have to play there.”

Another focus of the new Asia-Pacific headquarters will be its ability to serve as a unique turnkey sales and manufacturing experience for custom rubber molded needs that customers have.

The global demand for molded rubber solutions in the oil and gas exploration sector has been in a consistent growth pattern for several years, according to a statement released by the company about the expansion.

Pitts declined to release revenue numbers for the private company.