Taiwanese auxiliary equipment maker Shini Plastics Technologies Inc. is finishing a US$18.7 million expansion of its factories in China and India, as it seeks to reverse the hit it suffered in the financial crisis and tap into growth in some emerging economies.
The Taipei-based company said in a March 6 interview at the Taipei Plas show in Taipei that it has doubled capacity in the last year with new plants in Shanghai and India and expansions of existing facilities in South China and Taipei.
The costly expansion came as the global recession dried up its markets last year, sending sales down 30 percent to about US$48 million. But Shini said economic growth in emerging markets is now expected to push up sales this year to what they were in 2008, about US$68 million.
The company, which spent most of its 41-year history as a private-label maker of plastics equipment for companies in Canada, Japan and Europe before launching its own brands in 2003, aims to be a one-stop shop for plastics auxiliary equipment, said General Manager Aki Wu.
It claims to be the largest maker of plastic auxiliaries in China, and employs about 1,300 at factories in mainland China, Taiwan and India.
Shini launched its automation department in early 2009 and has developed robots including three- and five-axis server-controlled models to add to its line of granulators, dryers, chillers and other auxiliaries. The company believes the robots will be a key driver of growth this year, Wu said.
Wu said most of the firm's growth in 2010 is expected to come from emerging markets such as Brazil, India, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. If a new, 32,000-square-foot Indian plant, in Mumbai, goes well, the company may put a similar factory in Brazil, he said.
Meanwhile, Wu said, he is a little bit worried about the company's markets in mainland China, fearing that the housing bubble will pop this year and slow its economy.
If it did happen, the bad situation will probably only continue for not over one year, he said. We believe China will recover quickly because the country's government will take action, he said.
China's market actually shrank for Shini last year, but Wu said he still expects solid growth there during the next three to five years.
About 50 percent of the company's products are exported, with about 30 percent of that going to Japan and developed economies in Europe. Sales in Europe dropped at least 50 percent last year and only now are slowly starting to recover, Wu said.
The company began its transition from producing private-label equipment for other manufacturers to its own brand in 2003, and has seen sales rise steadily. It hired Japanese consultants to help it increase product quality and put in place better internal information systems to boost efficiency, he said.
Shini's expansion is entirely self-financed, with profits from operations paying for the new factories, leaving the company better able to weather the financial crisis, Wu said.
Before 2003, the firm built private-label equipment for Canadian auxiliary equipment maker Hamilton Avtec Inc. and other firms in Japan, the United Kingdom and Taiwan.
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