TOKYO -- Japan's largest tiremaker, Bridgestone Corp., said on Thursday it plans to build a new carbon black factory in Thailand at a cost of about 1.7 billion baht ($40 million) as it continues its push into Asia.
The new plant will be built in the Rayong province and is expected to begin production in the latter half of 2004.
The investment is part of Bridgestone's aggressive expansion into the Asian market, underscored by the company's announcement last week that it would build a third tyre factory in China, which is due to come online in September 2004.
That news followed Bridgestone's announcement last November that it would spend 17 billion yen ($145 million) to build a third tyre plant in Thailand to meet growing demand for new tires from automakers producing cars in the region.
The Rayong plant will produce about 40,000 tons a year of carbon black, a reinforcing agent used in tire production, and employ about 80 people.