Thai President Foods Plc, the manufacturer of Mama instant noodles, plans to invest more than 2 billion baht over a three-year period to expand its production capacity in response to anticipated future growth, both domestically and abroad.
Of the total budget, 1.6 billion baht is slated for acquiring and installing eight machines, while 400-500 million baht is for the purchase of land and construction of a new factory, said general manager Pun Paniangvait.
The new factory will either be built on a 50-60 rai plot of land located near the Mekong River in Nong Khai or Mukdahan, or within the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in Chon Buri or Rayong.
Construction of the new facility is set to commence in 2025, with operations scheduled to begin in 2026. On completion, the new factory will have a production capacity of 600,000 packs per day, representing a 30% increase from the current output.
This additional production capability will support the company's anticipated growth in both domestic and international markets.
"This is the biggest investment the firm has made in two decades," Mr Pun said, adding the company is allocating an extra 200 million baht to install new machinery at its Rayong factory in the coming year.
There are eight Mama noodle factories at present. Four are located in Chon Buri, Rayong, Lamphun and Ratchaburi.
These factories have a combined production capacity of 180 million packs and 36 million cups per month.
"We fully endorse the government's proposed minimum wage increase. Labour costs account for roughly 10% of our overall operational expenses. A 10% hike in labour costs would translate to just a 1% impact on our overall operations and we have implemented strategies to leverage the minimum wage increase," Mr Pun said.
The company is also bolstering its production efficiency by building a new smart instant noodle factory, introducing more automated machinery at its facilities in Rayong and Lamphun, and increasing the utilisation of alternative energy sources in the production process.
The company is also committed to upgrading existing machinery, as well as introducing newer, more efficient, and faster production equipment across various factories.
Currently, the company exports its instant noodle products to 68 countries.
According to Mr Pun, the company is also set to enhance its global market presence, with the aim of increasing international sales from the current level of 30% to a range of 40-50%. This expansion will be achieved by introducing new products to existing markets and launching existing products in new markets.
"There is a vast potential in international markets, which are larger than the domestic market. The Chinese market is of particular interest because of the growing trend among Chinese consumers to purchase more Thai food products as souvenirs," he said.
Potential markets for expansion include Europe and America, with emerging markets such as India and Africa also on the radar.
The company has already taken steps towards the African market by partnering with a local instant noodle manufacturer in Kenya to transfer its technology, ultimately paving the way for the introduction of Mama instant noodles during a later phase.
As for the future direction of the business, the company aims to continuously develop new products in response to market demands and evolving consumer lifestyles that are constantly changing.
Thai President aims for a 4% rise in sales to 23-25 billion baht in 2023, with even more substantial growth projected at 5-7% next year.