THAILAND

 
Mama instant noodle producer to boost capacity for pre-cooked rice soup

Thai President Foods Plc, the amalgamated firm of 2 listed companies under Saha Group, has unveiled plan to ramp up investment and boost instant noodle production capacity.
Pipat Paniangvait, the company's Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive, said about Bt 200 million (US$6 million) will be allocated for installation of new machines to triple the production capacity of Mama pre-cooked rice soup pork at its factory in Ban Pong, Ratchaburi province which will increase from the current 240 tonnes to 720 tonnes in September 2018.
The company will also spend about Bt 200 million (US$6 million) to install 20 robots at its instant noodle factories in Sri Racha, Rayong and Hungary to cope with higher labour costs. Mr Pipat said the company is looking at prototype robots for use in its factories next year.
Thai President Foods has recently merged with President Rice Products as part of the new business strategy of Saha Group’s Chairman, Boonsithi Chokwatana, to focus on food and service businesses because of good growth potential. The merger will create sustainable growth for the group, and President Rice is destined to become a base to expand the business in the future, said Pipat.
The group is also ambitious on making Saha Pathana Interholding (SPI) one of the largest food companies based on market capitalisation. SPI is the investment holding firm of Saha Group.
Presently, Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc is the largest firm by market capitalisation in Thailand’s food sector with a net worth of Bt 193 billion (US$5.8 billion), followed by Minor International Plc with Bt 177 billion (US$5.32 billion) and Thai Union Group Plc with Bt 100 billion (US$3 billion). Other Thai companies in the list include Carabao Group Plc (Bt 6.85 billion (US$210 million)) MK Restaurant Group (Bt 5.7 billion (US$171 million)) and TF (Bt 3.7 billion (US$111.3 million)).
Mr Pipat also added that there is a huge opportunity for pre-cooked rice soup and similar products that are rarely available in the market because of the complicated technology needed. “Pre-cooked rice soup products will cater mainly to health-conscious people, whose numbers are growing, apart from adding value to rice products,” he said.
Mr Pipat said the company is waiting for a government licence to set up a new instant noodle factory in Myanmar to help future expansion.
It also aims to raise its sales to Bt 30 billion (US$902 million) in 5 years from a combined Bt 22 billion (US$662 million) last year.