Monday, 30 August 2010

Ayala’s IMI to open European plant


AYALA’S electronics unit, Integrated Microelectronics Inc. (IMI), is close to opening a manufacturing plant in Europe.

The plan will push through this year, IMI President and CEO Arthur R. Tan told BusinessWorld last Friday evening during a small gathering to celebrate the firm’s 30th anniversary.

"We are going to do it within the year," Mr. Tan said, describing the size and the cost of the venture as "significant."

Mr. Tan, along with other IMI officials, will be going to Europe this September. He said IMI’s European expansion would involve the purchase of an existing firm "somewhere in Eastern Europe."
"It will be through acquisition. We have done it (acquire a foreign company) before. We bought a Singaporean company, we bought an American company but this one (the European firm) is not just any," said Mr. Tan who declined to disclose specifics.

The US purchase he was referring to involved Saturn Electronics and Engineering’s electronics manufacturing assets which were purchased in 2005. That year IMI also purchased Singaporean company Speedy-Tech Electronics Ltd.

IMI’s current European presence is only through an office in Germany that is said to account for some 23% of the company’s yearly sales.

"All we have is a sales office. I want to have a manufacturing and engineering footprint in Europe," Mr. Tan said.

"Although it is more expensive to operate in Europe, it also carries a regional presence that allows for a much closer interface with our European customers."

He said the development of new products and services would become much easier as a European site would complement its 11 manufacturing and engineering design facilities in the United States and Asia.

A new US manufacturing plant is also in the offing, with a deal expected to be finished within the year. "We cannot discount North America, that market will come back so we need to be ready for it," Mr. Tan said.

IMI sales hit $188.8 million in the first half of the year, allowing it to earn $4.7 million.
This year, said Mr. Tan, will be "better than last year... but relatively still muted compared to what we achieved prior to the [global] financial meltdown."

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