Battery firm predicts Thai market recharge

Strong car sales to lift TP&T's spirits in 2014

The automotive battery market is expected to grow by 10% next year to 8 billion baht, driven by strong car sales, according to Thai Petroleum & Trading Co (TP&T), a maker and distributor of after-market auto products.

The two-year cycle makes car batteries a steady business, says Mr Sumphan.

Deputy managing director Sumphan Tingthanathikul said an estimated 4.5 million replacement batteries are sold each year, 70% of which are conventional batteries (refilled with distilled water) for pickup trucks.

"The cycle for replacement is every two years," he said. "That is why the auto after-market remains healthy despite new vehicle sales that may shrink slightly this year."

The Federation of Thai Industries auto club said cars produced in the first nine months numbered 1.93 million, up 12% year-on-year. Domestic sales for cars and trucks for the period rose by 3.4% to 1.03 million units, while motorcycle sales fell by 3.3% to 1.59 million units.

The club expects full-year production of 2.55 million vehicles: 1.15 million for export and 1.4 million for domestic sales.

Last year's output totalled 2.45 million vehicles, with 1.43 million going to the domestic market.

Founded in 1952, TP&T's businesses include the manufacture, marketing and distribution of lubricating oils, plastic containers and car batteries.

TP&T owns a lube-oil blending plant in Samut Prakan with a capacity of 60,000 tonnes a year and a grease plant in Samut Sakhon with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes a year.

The company has also invested in a plastic container plant in Samut Sakhon with a carrying capacity of 2,400 tonnes a year, sufficient to receive its lubricant products.

In 2007, TP&T bought a local battery company and established a battery plant in Samut Prakan with a capacity of 350,000 batteries a year.

The year 2009 saw the launch of the TPS Spark battery in Thailand and the TPS Champion in export markets such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Africa and the Middle East.

The company was also named as an authorised distributor in Thailand for Varta, a premium German car battery.

About the author

Writer: Piyachart Maikaew
Position: Business Reporter