Naoyuki Matsumura, deputy head of overseas sales and marketing of Mitsubishi Logisnext Co Ltd.
Naoyuki Matsumura, deputy head of overseas sales and marketing of Mitsubishi Logisnext Co Ltd.

Rosy prospects  for Thai forklift agent in Asean  

Corporate November 15, 2017 01:00

By   JINTANA PANYAARVUDH
THE NATION

UNITED Motor Works (Siam) Plc (UMWS), a Thai marketer and distributor of industrial and automotive repair tools, equipment and machinery, sees good prospects for its business due to the government’s Thailand 4.0 industrial policy as well as the move toward the free flow of goods among the Asean bloc.



The firm set this year’s revenue target at Bt850 million with hopes of soon reaching Bt1 billion. At that point, they would be eligible to re-enter the stock market after withdrawing during the 1999 financial crisis, said Kamonthip Ngernruang, UMWS senior manager, finance and administration division yesterday.

The current sale volume for the first three quarters this year saw growth expansion, she said.

New opportunities in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which offers highly attractive investment opportunities for foreign investors under Thailand 4.0 industrialisation vision could help put the company over target, said Kamonthip.

“Absolutely, when more factories are founded [under the EEC], the demand for forklifts will follow. We offer both electric and engine-driven forklift trucks that have ISO for environmental friendliness following the regulation requirements,” she said.

UMWS is the authorised importer of Mitsubishi forklifts from Japan, one of the top three best–selling brands in the Thai market.

 The firm also imports and distributes other industrial and construction machinery such as boom lifts from JLG in the United States, along with excavators and loaders from Wacker Neuson in Germany.

Around 70 per cent of the firms’ revenues come from forklift trucks and the rest from other products.

As the regional demand for forklift trucks continues growing with many ongoing and planned infrastructure projects in Laos and Myanmar, UMWS expects to form joint ventures with local partners in both countries next year to expand and strengthen their business in the Asean bloc, Kamonthip said.

A joint venture between UMWS and DK Lao Trading Sole Co Ltd, distributors of forklift trucks, cranes, scaffolding and spare parts in Vientiane, would be formed by mid-2018, with UMWS holding the major share, she said.

The demand for forklift trucks in Laos is growing, with the local dealer ordering from UWMS, Kamonthip said. UWMS has exported its products to Laos via DK Lao for around four years.

Laos has attracted many investors due to its lower labour cost. Its ongoing infrastructure projects, including the high-speed train railway, are expected to further expand demand.

After Laos, Myanmar would be UWMS’s next joint-venture target with a local firm as distributor, and Kamonthip thought it could happen by the end of next year.

Myanmar’s Dawei deep-sea port and special economic zone could be expected to boost the demand for forklift trucks. The nation has no dealer presence now.

Kamonthip gives thanks to the Asean Economics Community (AEC) for facilitating the free flow of businesses through the bloc. It inspired Atsushi Tomita, the UMWS managing director, to see the potential opportunity for the firm to expand into distributing machinery in neighbouring countries, she said.

Early this year, after 70 years of operating in Thailand, the firm repositioned itself as a “total solution provider”. Its parent company is Singapore’s Hup Soon Global Corporation.

Naoyuki Matsumura, deputy head of overseas sales and marketing for Mitsubishi Logisnext Co Ltd which manufactures the forklifts distributed by UMWS, said Thailand is his firm’s number one Asean market.

Matsumura said his company has its eye on the Thailand EEC project and could increase production at its factory in the Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate in Chon Buri to meet future demand stimulated by the project. The factory can now produce around 3,000 units a year and exports to countries in Asia, the Middle East, Australia, and Africa.

Mitsubishi Logisnext is an integration of Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift Co Ltd and UniCarriers Corporation. After they combined last month, the revised forecasts predicted that sales revenue would increase about 1.5 times to Bt123 billion from Bt81.3 billion last year.

The demand for forklifts continues growing, with sales units in 2016 beating 1.2 million, up from 1 million in 2014.