Nippon Paint Thailand is upbeat about its sales prospects, pointing to the country's recovering car market.
According to Taweechai Tangtanawirut, sales in the auto refinishing business, of which he is the company's general manager, are expected to grow by 15% this year to 1.15 billion baht.
"We've witnessed the country's overall car sales rising significantly in the first quarter," he said. "The prospects for the car refinishing business are also expected to become promising accordingly."
In the latest report from the Federation of Thai Industries, first-quarter domestic car sales stood at 210,490 units, up 15.9% year-on-year.
Passenger car sales shot up 38.7% in the first quarter to 80,412 units, with sales of pickup trucks rising by 13.6% to 92,441 units.
But sales of sport-utility vehicles and passenger pickup vehicles remained depressed at 11,317 and 14,615 units over the first three months, down 15.3% and 18.4% respectively.
Mr Taweechai expects rising demand for automotive paint refinishing in line with stronger car sales, forecasting 3-5% growth in the sector this year to 3.8-4 billion baht.
Nippon Paint aims to raise its market share in 2017 by four or five percentage points to 28-30%.
"As of last month, the car population totalled 15.2 million units, and I forecast new car sales will stay at 700,000-800,000 units this year," Mr Taweechai said.
He said Nippon Paint has a positive outlook for the local market during 2017-18, driven by three factors: an improving car market, a growing economy and greater demand for commercial vehicles.
The Thai economy is expected to grow by 3-5% this year, spurred by infrastructure megaprojects worth an estimated 400 billion baht during the period.
Mr Taweechai said the new projects will stimulate demand for big trucks.
Nippon Paint in Thailand was founded in 1967 under a joint venture between Japan's Nippon Paint Co and Singapore's Nipsea Holdings International. The Japanese firm holds 51% and the Singaporean firm 49%.
Nippon Paint runs one plant in Samut Prakan's Phra Pradaeng district and two plants in Chachoengsao's Bang Pakong district with a total capacity of 5,400 tonnes a month.
The plant in Phra Pradaeng makes automotive paint refinishing and decorative paint, while the two plants in Bang Pakong make automotive paint for carmakers.