Italians join gas valve venture

The Cavagna Group of Italy, one of the world’s largest valve producers, has entered a joint venture with SV Metals Ltd to produce liquid petroleum gas (LPG) valves and equipment in Thailand to supply Asian markets. SV Metals-Cavagna Ltd will be established to produce five million valves a year by the end of next year, doubling SV Metals’ current capacity. Cavagna will invest by bringing in approximately 50 items of modern machinery to increase production efficiency and product competitiveness. Davide Cavagna, chief executive officer of the Cavagna Group, said the investment in Thailand was substantial and the first direct investment by Cavagna in Asia. It has had an operation in Malaysia through the acquisition of a European company in 1999. SV Metals currently supplies 40% of its production to PTT Plc and the rest is exported through the Shell Group. Total demand for gas valves for new gas tanks and replacements in Thailand was around four million units a year, according to Treepon Riebroicharoen, managing director of SV Metals. He said that after the joint venture was set up, each production unit would find its own area of expertise to achieve economies of scale. It was likely that the Thai operation would produce more hand-wheel gas valves and fewer compact valves. The new venture is expected to double its revenue to 400 million baht and assets to more than 200 million after reaching full capacity next year. Exports would become a major business in the future, as SV Metals-Cavagna would supply current Cavagna clients in Asia. Mr Cavagna said the company would also relocate its regional office from Singapore to Thailand to strengthen its distribution network.

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