By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Centro Manufacturing Corporation and Nippon Fruehauf Japan signed an agreement have agreed to form a joint venture to locally manufacture and sell insulated sandwich panels for temperature controlled vans or reefer vans.
The joint venture will also include locally assembling ref van bodies using the insulated sandwich panels for any truck brand and model and for any brand of refrigeration system.
NF President Hiroyasu Hiruma and Centro President Raphael Juan signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) in the presence of Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry and Romulo Manlapig and Marissa Concepcion, head and deputy head of the Project Management the Board of Investments.
Juan said Centro has already purchased a 10,000 square meter property in Cavite for the factory and construction of the plant will soon commence.
“We expect to finish construction by the end of the 1st quarter of 2019 and we will be able to start commercial operation and selling by the 2nd quarter of 2019. In the meantime, we will first order CKD kits from NF Thailand and parts from NF Japan to be able to serve the current demands for the new products,” said Juan.
Hiruma explained that the insulated sandwich panels will be locally manufactured using Japanese materials, technology, process and quality standards. “We are in fact transferring to Centro a modern technology, the use of extruded polystyrene in lieu of the old injected polyurethane as insulating material. Because polystyrene has a lesser water absorption capacity, then it is more durable, will last longer and will be easier to maintain. It is common knowledge in Japan that polystyrene sandwich panels outlast polyurethane sandwich panels under similar operating conditions. Our studies indicate that its estimated useful life will definitely match the service life of the truck chassis on which it will be mounted,” he said.
He added that an initial investment of P100 million will be made to finance the manufacturing plant in Maguyam, Cavite, the production facilities and working capital.
“But with the planned plant expansions and new products that will be developed, we have allocated P500 over the next five years,” he said.
Hiruma revealed that Nippon Fruehauf chose to invest in the Philippines because they liked the economic indicator numbers that they saw.
“The growth is over 6 percent annually, the GDP is increasing, the consumer base or population of over 100 million is consistently increasing, the cold chain market is growing, the Philippine logistics industry is on an upswing and there are growths in the other industries that our products will serve. And of course, we are blessed to have found a very good and well-managed local partner in Centro,” said Hiruma.