Electrolux Taps Benefits of FTA with Australia
May 20, 2005
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To take advantage of the new free trade area (FTA) agreement with Australia, Electrolux (Thailand) Co will import more Australian appliance products as part of its plan to become one of the top three local distributors of refrigerators and cooking units over the next 3 to 4 years. The company currently imports some cooking appliances and two-door refrigerators from Australia to sell in the Thai market, according to Ian Banes, the new general manager of Electrolux (Thailand).

Under the Thailand-Australia FTA, tariffs of 30 percent for automatic washing machines and combined refrigerator-freezers were eliminated at the start of this year. ''So, [the number of] new imported products will be expanded. At the same time, there is a possibility to export more products to Australia market in the future,'' Mr. Banes said.

Apart from importing products, Electrolux this month began making cooking equipment such as built-in hobs at its Asian production base in Rayong. The move gives the company more variety in price ranges and design to attract new consumer groups in Thailand. It has a capacity of 50,000 units per year. Other products such as range hoods may eventually be produced at the site.

The Rayong factory, opened in 2003, currently produces 200,000 washing machines per year, of which 60 percent are exported. The company delivered its first 15 containers of washing machines to Australia last month.

Mr. Banes said Electrolux was the market leader for cooking products in all European markets, but in Asia it had strong brand leadership only in Malaysia. In Thailand, Electrolux is in the top 10 for refrigerators and the top five for cooking units.

To gain top-three positioning in all product categories, particularly refrigerators and ranges, the company plans to launch about 70 new products across six categories this year. Of the total, two-thirds will be refrigerators or ranges and the remainder will be other Electrolux products such as vacuum cleaners and front-loading washing machines. (Bangkok Post)

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