Unicharm's Thailand subsidiary earmarks 1B baht to expand production capacity of its sanitary napkins and baby and adult diapers at its Chachoengsao province factory this year

BANGKOK , June 5, 2014 () – Uni-Charm (Thailand), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Unicharm Corporation, has earmarked 1 billion baht to expand local production capacity of its sanitary napkins and baby and adult diapers.

Managing director Takumi Terakawa said the money would be used to install 10 new pieces of machinery at its Chachoengsao province factory this year.

These will be used to produce all three product lines made by Uni-Charm ? Sofy sanitary napkins, Mamy Poko baby diapers and Lifree adult diapers.

Mr Terakawa did not disclose the additional capacity but said the output would serve demand both locally and abroad.

"We are a little concerned about the current political environment and hope the situation will finally return to normal," Mr Terakawa said.

"However, our business did not feel any serious impact from the political problems. Whatever the political situation, people still use sanitary napkins and baby and adult diapers."

He said demand for these products would continue to rise, particularly for adult diapers, as Thailand is fast becoming an ageing society like Japan.

Moreover, parents never stop spending on baby products regardless of whether the economy is good or bad, said Mr Terakawa.

Unicharm Corporation established its presence in Thailand 27 years ago.

Today, Uni-Charm (Thailand) commands a share of Thailand's 5.3-billion-baht sanitary napkin market.

Demand for Sofy sanitary napkins increased by 5% last year, ahead of overall industry growth, and this year the company expects their market share will increase to 52-53%.

To achieve this goal, the company has relaunched Sofy products with a new fresh look, targeted at teenage consumers.

The company has hired the actress Jarinporn "Pei" Junkiat as its presenter.

With Lifree, the company intends to become the leader in the local adult diapers market by the end of this year, up from No.2 now.

"We plan to drive market growth for each product category ahead of overall industry growth this year," said Yoshio Tatsuta, the company's marketing manager for baby care and feminine care products.

Thailand's overall adult diaper market was worth 1.5 billion baht last year, a 30-40% rise from 2012, and sales of

Lifree adult diapers beat industry growth in 2013.

Uni-Charm (Thailand) projects sales growth of 15-20% this year from 17 billion baht last year.

Of total sales, 20-30% will come from exports, mainly to other Asean markets.

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(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)

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