Tuesday, September 21, 2021

European circuits board giant picks Malaysia in RM8.5 billion boost to pandemic recovery

The plant in Kedah is expected to generate 5,000 high-impact jobs.

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Leading circuits board maker AT&S has announced a RM8.5 billion investment for a plant in Malaysia, in a major boost to the economy as the country seeks to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Austrian-based giant which has factories in India, China and South Korea, is a global leader in high-end printed circuit boards and integrated circuit substrates, as well as a major parts supplier to global computer brands including Apple.

Despite the pandemic, AT&S recorded a double-digit increase in revenue and earnings for the 2020/21 period, with a record revenue of €1.19 billion, up 19% from the year before.

The plant at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah will mark its debut in the Southeast Asian region, and is expected to create 5,000 high-tech and high-impact jobs once operations begin in 2024.

“No doubt, AT&S’ latest investment is a testament to the confidence of foreign investors in Malaysia’s economic prospects as well as the human capital resource available to cope with the high-tech demands of high-impact industries,” International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said in a statement welcoming the company’s decision.

The decision was officially conveyed by AT&S CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin during a video conference yesterday.

Gerstenmayer said AT&S had been involved in “very intensive location scouting globally”, adding that Malaysia was chosen to push ahead its “More than AT&S” initiative.

“Beside the manufacturing of high-tech products, a significant number of R&D activities will be executed at this new location. Malaysia can benefit from its position as a technology country and can strengthen the region as a high-tech manufacturing hub in Asia,” he said.

AT&S chief operating officer Ingolf Schröder meanwhile described the Kulim Hi-Tech Park as the “perfect match” for its expansion plans.

This comes on the back of the latest figures revealed by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) that the country recorded RM80.6 billion in approved investments in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors in the first quarter of this year, a 95.6% spike from RM41.2 billion in the same period last year.

Azmin said the AT&S project was the result of Mida’s engagements with the company since last November, as part of efforts under the Penjana scheme, or the National Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan, launched to restart the economy following the nationwide lockdown in 2020.

AT&S’ high-end circuit boards are used in mobile devices, industrial electronics, automotive applications as well as medical and health technology.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin commended the international trade and industry ministry as well as Mida for their work in attracting investors.

“This investment announcement represents a key win for Malaysia in proving our efforts to source for high-quality investments from international companies.”

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