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 Kumho Unveils Rubber Plant in Vietnam

Binh Duong, Vietnam -- 6 July 2007 -- Rapidly expanding Korean tyre manufacturer Kumho has opened its own rubber processing plant in the Binh Duong Province of Vietnam. The facility will be used to supply Kumho’s new Vietnamese tyre factory as well as those in Korea and other territories.

The plant represents a $4 million per annum investment by Kumho, and will initially allow the company to produce some 11,000 tons of natural rubber latex a year on this 82,645 sq m site – sufficient to help create six million tyres. However, production levels may be increased in the future.

Natural rubber accounts for 25% of the raw material required for tyre production and having its own source of supply will help Kumho overcome the sudden rises in the cost of natural rubber that have been increasingly afflicting the global tyre industry. According to SICOM (Singapore Commodity Exchange Ltd) the price has almost doubled from $1,004 per ton in 2003 to the current average of $2,100 per ton.

At the plant opening ceremony, the CEO of Kumho Tires, Dr Sae-chul Oh, said, "Having our own rubber processing facility will give us new flexibility regarding the supply of raw material to all our tyre plants including Vietnam. We anticipate that this will improve both the quality of our products and our price competitiveness.”

The ceremony was also attended by Nguyen Hoang Son, the chairman of Binh Duong Province and the president of Becamex Industry Complex, Nguyen Van Hung.

Vietnam is the fourth largest rubber exporter in the world, trailing Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia with annual output of 700,000 metric tons.  Vietnam has planned and invested in expanding plantation to achieve its target of 1 million metric ton by 2010.