JOHOR BARU: UK-based Howco Group will invest US$20 million to open a new manufacturing facility here that will serve its customers in the oil and gas industry (O&G) in the Asian region.
Located at the Setia Business Park, the 1.9 ha facility will be equipped with a dedicated high technology heat treatment plant which will enable the company to serve the region's O&G industry.
"The facility will be custom-designed to our requirements, which will offer us quick turnaround time and lean and cost-effective flow. It will also increase space to hold high value materials, expand sawing capacity and also allowing us to move into further added value manufacturing processes," said John Ferguson, chief executive officer of Howco.
Ferguson said the company will employ 30 new staff once the new facility is operational in 2015. It is the company's intention is to hire local staff for its new facility, he added.
Howco is a leading distributor of raw material for wellhead and completion equipment and the new facility in Malaysia will be its 16th worldwide. The company already has a manufacturing facility in Singapore.
Ferguson said the company plans to maintain its Singapore facility even when the new one is operational.
"We have customers in both countries, so having these facilities will enable us to better serve our customers."
Ferguson was speaking to the media after the sale and purchase agreement signing between Howco and SP Setia Bhd, the developer of the Setia Business Park.
Also present were SP Setia chief operating officer Datuk Voon Tin Yow and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority director (Singapore) K. Sukomaran.
In the signing, Howco was represented by Ferguson and its deputy chief executive officer, Dave Davidson while SP Setia by Voon and its divisional general manager, Hoe Mee Ling.
Meanwhile, Voon said 80 per cent of the Setia Business Park has been occupied and the developer is currently in talks with several companies regarding the opening of new factories in the park.
"We are in negotiations with several companies about this matter. We will reveal the details once the negotiations have been completed," said Voon.
He also said the company is always looking to add to its landbank in Iskandar Malaysia region.
"However, it is more expensive to buy land in Iskandar Malaysia now compared to a few years ago because of all the development in the area.
"The price has doubled or tripled compared to six or seven years ago," said Voon, adding that SP Setia has identified several land in the area, although he declined to reveal the locations.