PARIS (Feb. 15) — Michelin is investing $94 million to expand capacity for passenger tires by about a third at its Michelin Siam Co. Ltd. plant in Laem Chabang, Thailand.
The project, disclosed by Chairman Edouard Michelin during the presentation of the firm´s 2005 financial results, will focus on higher value-added V- and Z-rated performance tires to meet rapidly expanding Asian demand.
Michelin did not give a timetable for the project, which will add 2.2 million units of annual capacity to the 16-year-old plant´s existing capacity of 6.1 million units, nor did it disclose the expansion´s effect on employment.
The company last expanded the plant in 2000/2001, when it doubled capacity to its current level in a $100-million project that also boosted employment to more than 1,200. The Laem Chabang plant opened in 1990 under the auspices of Michelin Siam Group Co. Ltd., a joint venture company involving Michelin and Siam Cement P.L.C.
Michelin since has boosted its control of the joint venture to 90 percent.
Laem Chabang is one of six Michelin plants in Thailand — three tire factories, an aircraft tire retreading plant, a steel cord facility and a tire mold plant.