Swiss shower maker chooses Thailand

Cambodia Construction News Laos

swiss shower maker chooses thailand.pgSwitzerland-based shower maker Nikles has chosen Thailand for its Asia-Pacific headquarters and global manufacturing centre.

The new production facility, worth an undisclosed amount, will be operational in 2012 to serve demand in Asia as well as Brazil and Europe, said Stefan Nikles, a vice-president and the head of the Asia-Pacific region.

“We chose Thailand as the regional hub because of the country’s suitable geographical location, with easy access to neighbouring countries and convenient transfer to other markets in the Asia-Pacific,” said Mr Nikles, whose father Gerhard founded the family-owned business 28 years ago.

Nikles Showers (Thailand) will be responsible for the Asian markets of China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Apart from sales and marketing activities, it will also act as a regional design and engineering centre.

“The company looked at other potential locations such as Singapore, but we decided to come to Thailand because it is easier to find designers here,” he said, adding that the company would recruit 10 Thai designers next year.

He said the Thai unit may apply for tax privileges under the government’s regional operating headquarters scheme.

“We have already made a decision to build the manufacturing plant in Thailand, which is obviously a great country to invest in,” said Mr Nikles.

With its world headquarters in Basel and a presence in 50 countries, Nikles currently owns a factory in Italy and two in China. That includes the Xiamen plant, which started operating this year to boost the company’s Chinese capacity to 400,000 shower sets a month.

The brand first entered the Thai market last year, with Karat Faucet Co appointed as its sole local distributor.

This year, Nikles has enjoyed a 180% rise in local revenue and a 15% share of the Thai shower market.

Regionally, Thailand ranks sixth in terms of revenue contribution for Nikles. India, Australia/New Zealand and Indonesia are its top three markets.

The construction materials market has enjoyed continuous growth in Thailand, with the shower and faucet segment valued at more than 4.5 billion baht a year with annual growth of 10-15%.

Mr Nikles said the growth is derived from new real estate projects and renovations of residences, hotels and commercial buildings.

So far, the company has focused on the middle to high-end markets with prices ranging up to 30,000 baht for complete sets. Nikles has seven outlets in Thailand including Pattaya.

The company plans greater penetration of the mass market next year, and will open more outlets upcountry including in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Nakhon Ratchasima and Udon Thani provinces, said Mr Nikles.


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