SUBIC BAY FREEPORT? Seeking to achieve operational and cost efficiencies, Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI) has invested P500 million to put up a warehouse where it may store its tobacco leaf supply for the entire region.
The facility has a storage capacity of 14,000 metric tons (MT).
In a briefing following Monday's groundbreaking ceremony, PMPMI managing director Christopher Nelson said the new facility, located within the Subic Techno Park, would open in July and would start receiving leaf supply from the region by August.
The company is also looking at possibly infusing an additional P500 million to expand the facility?s capacity by another 10,000 MT, Nelson said. This expansion, however, will depend on supplier purchasing conditions and market demand.
?We have no timeframe yet for the expansion. The whole point of this warehouse is for it to be a regional hub. We?ll see how this develops,? he said.
?We expect this to have a positive impact on our company because the leaf that we?ll be buying will be maintained at its best possible quality. To maintain high quality, warehouse conditions must be optimal. (The warehouse) will also give us quicker access to our own lead supply.?
He said the new warehouse would have state-of-the-art features, including humidity control, fire suppression equipment, and air-conditioning. These features would ensure the quality of tobacco leaf imported from suppliers in China, India, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The imported tobacco leaves would be stored at the Subic warehouse, then shipped and processed in the company?s cigarette manufacturing facilities here in the country, as well as in Malaysia and Indonesia, Nelson said.
The company had earlier invested P30 million to renovate its warehouse at the Subic Bay Freeport?s Boton area. The 10,000-square-meter facility, which started operating in January 2008, now has the capacity to hold 6,100 metric tons of tobacco leaf.
For 2010, PMPMI expects to grow its business by up to three percent, or just in line with the industry, Nelson said.