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By | Chris Mellor 12th December 2011 10:19

Floods? What floods? Seagate to open new Thai disk fab

Pumps $33m to soak up drive demand

Despite the devastating and deadly floods in Thailand, Seagate will spend $30m (£19.1m) to finish building a new disk read-write head plant in the south-east Asian nation.

The 29,800m2 plant will be in Nakhon Ratchasima province in the country's north east. This region has been hit twice by severe flooding, once in October 2010 and again this year.

Seagate's disk drive and component plants in Thailand were not affected by this year's rising waters, but disk drive output has been limited by component droughts from flooded suppliers downstream in the supply chain. However, a lot of money has already been spent on the new factory and walking away from the project, even if it had been inundated, would have been costly.

The 1 billion baht ($33 million) project involved erecting and equipping a new building, which, with the latest $30 million investment, should be opened in February 2012. It will "potentially create several thousand new jobs when the plant is fully operational and running at maximum production capacity".

The Bangkok Post quotes Jeffrey Nygaard, Seagate's VP in charge of its Penang and Thailand operations, as saying: "With this new investment, we will be able to increase current read/write-head production by up to 40 per cent running at maximum capacity. This will serve the increasing world demand for hard-disk drive storage."

Seagate is of the opinion that disk drive supply will be limited for the next few quarters, with 110 to 120 million drives shipped in the final 2011 quarter. The difficulties should ease quarter by quarter next year. ®

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Chris Mellor

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