Hyundai Asia Resources hopes to decide on plant expansion before end-2019

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HYUNDAI Asia Resources Inc. (HARI) said it will decide by yearend whether or not it will push through with a P5-billion plant expansion.

“We don’t have any definite decision yet. We’re still conducting all the studies,” HARI Chief Executive Officer and President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo said in a May 1 interview in Taguig City.

“Hopefully we’ll see by the end of this year what our final direction will be,” she added.

In early 2018, the Korean car maker’s official Philippine distributor said it has allocated P5 billion over the next five years for assembly operations. This was expected to boost HARI’s capacity to up to 50,000 units annually.

Last year, HARI sold 35,401 units, down 6% from 2017’s 37,678 units. The company expects 2019 sales to grow by 13-27% to 40,000-45,000 units, amid easing inflation rate, increased government spending, and higher consumer spending due to the elections.

In the first three months of this year, HARI saw a 12.5% sales increase to 9,949 units, driven by the commercial and light vehicles segments and new passenger car models.

The company launched its first assembly center in Sta. Rosa, Laguna last 2017.

Trade Undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Promotion Group Ceferino S. Rodolfo said the Philippines had been trying to entice the South Korea-based Hyundai Group to establish an assembly plant for e-vehicles in the country.

Negotiations for a free trade agreement with South Korea is expected to attract more Korean investments, according to Mr. Rodolfo.

The two countries are targeting to conclude negotiations by November. — Janina C. Lim