MT Alumet sets sights on Laos
MT Alumet, one of Thailand’s leading manufacturers of aluminium extrusions, is beefing up its domestic and global expansion and is set to diversify into mining and drinking water in Laos.
Executive director Jainnisa Kuvinichkul says the Thai-owned company is investing 200 million baht to raise production capacity at its Bang Na factory to 2,000 tonnes of aluminium a month from the current 1,500 tonnes a month.
Upon completion next year, the expansion should help raise the company’s international sales to 30% from 20% now.
Founded in 1992 by the Kuvinichkul family, MT Alumet is ranked among the top three players in the high-tech aluminium market. The company supplies aluminium to all industries, including electronics, automobiles, aerospace, interior design and furniture.
Thailand’s aluminium market is valued at 60 billion baht, with average annual growth of 10%. The high-tech aluminium market accounts for 30 billion baht.
MT Alumet itself has annual sales of 2 billion baht, with average growth of 12-15% a year, according to Ms Jainnisa, a Harvard Business School graduate who took managerial control of MT Alumet’s business in 2009.
Growth prospects hinge on whether local consumers are aware that aluminium can be used as an alternative to steel or wood in modern construction projects.
Aluminium is lighter than steel and is environmentally friendlier because it is 100% recyclable. Thailand’s per-capita usage of the metal is 0.2 kilogrammes, compared with 6-7 kg in the US.
With a background in management consulting (McKinsey & Co) in Singapore and commodities trading in Hong Kong and China, Mrs Jainnisa has been instrumental in taking MT Alumet beyond Thai territory, setting up its affiliate companies to operate mining and drinking water operations in Laos with an investment of 600-700 million baht. “We are about to sign a concession with the Laotian government to operate mines there,” Ms Jainnisa said. “The drinking water business is also set to launch soon.”
The company is evaluating other investment opportunities in Cambodia but has yet to make a decision, according to Ms Jainnisa.
She is currently engaged in several personal businesses such as a trading firm in Hong Kong and the first luxury Thai spa brand in the United Kingdom under the Jainnisa name.
Ms Jainnisa is also set to launch a high-end beauty care business under the Primmalai brand in Thailand, aiming to be exported as well to Laos and the Middle East.