HONG KONG-BASED Zama Corp., a subsidiary of the STIHL group of Germany, is breaking ground on Tuesday for its P2.5-billion manufacturing plant in the Philippines.
The 60,000-square meter facility will rise at the First Philippine Industrial Park in Sto. Tomas, Batangas and will produce a wide array of ZAMA products, including its trademark carburetors for small fuel engines. The manufacturing plant is expected to be operational by 2016.
STIHL is one of the biggest and most well-known groups of enterprises in Germany.
“This is ZAMA’s biggest building investment to date and a milestone in the history of our subsidiary,” said Dr. Bertram Kandziora, STIHL executive board chairman, who will be in Manila to witness the groundbreaking rites.
ZAMA President Jan Grigor Schubert and Nikolas Stihl, chairman of the advisory board of Stihl Holding AG & Co., met with President Benigno Aquino III to discuss STIHL’s newest venture in the Philippines during the Chief Executive’s recently concluded European trip.
The meeting likewise delved on other business opportunities in the country, which the German executives recognized as one of the fastest growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region.
“During President Aquino’s visit in Berlin, he talked about the training program for skilled workers provided by TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) and how investing companies like ours can cooperate with the government agency to provide vocational training to our pool of employees,” said Schubert.
Stihl, for his part, said he is impressed by the steps taken by the Philippine government to improve the business environment and to entice investors to locate in the country.
“We are confident that our decision to locate in the Philippines will prove to be beneficial to all stakeholders,” said Dr. Stihl.
ZAMA was granted pioneer status by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. Thus, it will enjoy Income Tax Holiday for its investment commitments. The incentive aims to encourage the company to pour in more investments in the country.
ZAMA, which is recognized as a technology leader and the world’s largest manufacturer of diaphragm carburetors, already has plants in Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the United States. The company has 2,400 employees and produces more than 14 million carburetors in 350 different models.
The local ZAMA facility is not only expected to stimulate business activities but also to generate thousands of jobs. A wide array of parts and components will be sourced from local suppliers in the Calabarzon area.
Dr. Kandziora said he is confident the Philippine partnership will be crucial in the group’s consolidation and in the fulfillment of its objective to increase its global market share.