The Jakarta Post
PT Asahimas Chemical, a subsidiary of the Japan-based Asahi Glass Company (AGC), expects to more than triple its industrial chemical exports following the opening of a new factory in its industrial complex in Cilegon, Banten.
With the operation of the new plant, exports were projected to increase to US$400 million this year from $120 million last year, Takuya Shimamura of Asahimas said during the inauguration of the new factory on Friday.
'We built the new factory to meet rising demand from the local and international market,' he said.
Asahimas exports its industrial chemical products to several countries, including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The company's industrial expansion and infrastructure development inside and outside the country has increased demand for caustic soda, mixture for pulp, paper, textile fiber; vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), raw material for PVC; and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), used to make pipes, cables and synthetic skin.
The new factory increases the annual production capacity for caustic soda from 500,000 to 700,000 dry tons; VCM from 400,000 to 800,000 tons; and PVC from 300,000 to 550,000 tons.
Asahima's local sales reached between $280 million and $380 million last year, higher than its exports, which were worth $120 million during the same year, Takuya said.
'If demand rises again, we may build another site in East Java as the area here is already full,' he said.
The firm, established in 1986, has 91 hectares of land in Cilegon, covering 50 ha of its existing factory, 20 ha of the new factory and 20 ha of a planned coal-fired power plant (PLTU) aiming for operation in 2018.
The 2 Ã 150 megawatt (MW) power plant will provide the firm's electricity needs and help the state achieve its goal of having new 35,000 MW by 2019.
The area is also connected to a small port in the Java Sea, where the company receives and sends materials. This makes it the biggest integrated chemical production site in Southeast Asia.
Coordinating Investment Board (BKPM) head Franky Sibarani said that Asahima's investment was in line with the state's focus on developing export-oriented industry that will help save its foreign currency.
'The expansion of Asahimas is very positive to increase local competitiveness, especially to reduce raw material imports and save foreign currency reserves by $97 million per year,' he said at the same event.
Investment for the new factory, which is worth $425 million, will help meet the country's total investment target of Rp 595 trillion ($44 billion) this year.
Last year, realized investment totaled Rp 545.45 trillion, exceeding the Rp 519.5 trillion target.
The government aims to see Rp 3.5 quadrillion in investment during the period between 2015 and 2019.
To reach this, BKPM is providing various licensing services, such as the three-hour license issuance for big investors and 'green-lane' acceleration to help companies constructing sites to settle import permits.
The latter program is handling 11 foreign companies with Rp 28.4 trillion in investment and seven local companies with Rp 5.6 trillion in investment.
All run in various sectors, such as agriculture, basic metal, metal, minerals, machinery and electronics, mining, rubber, plastics, electricity, gas, water, transportation, food, chemical and pharmacy. (rbk)
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