Plexus Manufacturing to open third plant in Penang

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(Business Times (Malaysia) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) PLEXUS Corp, a US-based electronics contract manufacturer, plans to expand its operations in Malaysia by opening a third plant in Penang, company officials said.

Plexus, headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, currently has two manufacturing plants in Penang via Plexus Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, which is located at the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone.

Other than Penang, Plexus also has operations in China.

The expansion here will bring Plexus' manufacturing capacity to 630,000 sq ft, making Penang its largest base in Asia.

The Nasdaq-listed Plexus, which has yearly revenue of US$1.2 billion (RM4.40 billion), is expected to invest as much as US$38 million (RM139.46 milion) to beef up operations in Penang.

Operation at the new facility is due to start by as early as the middle of next year. The last time Plexus expanded its operations in Penang was in 2004.

Plexus' investment plans should be soothing to Penang, the country's technology-driven manufacturing hub.

The state recently received a blow when Intel Corp, the world's biggest chipmaker, announced a global scale layoff.

It was reported that as many as 2,000 jobs would be cut in Malaysia.

Intel, at the start of the year employed some 6,500 people.

Business Times was told that while the Intel job cuts was a blow, the authorities were more concerned about Vietnam emerging as a threat to Penang for technology-driven jobs and investment.

In February, Intel said it was investing as much as US$300 million (RM1.10 billion) in Vietnam, with an option to double the investment size.

The investment, the biggest by a single company, will create 1,200 jobs in Vietnam by 2007. Intel intends to build a greenfield plant to produce chips and computer parts at Ho Chi Minh City's high-tech park.

Months before that, International Data Group, the world's largest IT media group, invested as much as US$100 million (RM368 million) to help start-up technology companies grow in Vietnam.

The communist-run country, where minimum wage at foreign-based enterprise is only about US$55 (RM202) a month, exported some US$1.44 billion (RM5.28 billion) of electronic products last year.

With a relatively modest labour cost and a young educated population, Vietnam is hoping to rope in as much as US$6 billion (RM22.02 billion) in foreign direct investments this year.

Copyright 2006 The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. Source: Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Intelligence Wire
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