|Smit Chea, chairman of Thai paint manufacturer 4 Oranges, gestures during a press briefing in Ho Chi Minh City Jan. 14, 2009 (Photo: Tuong Thuy)|
The Thai-invested paint manufacturer 4 Oranges, which currently holds a market share of one-third in Vietnam, said its 2009 revenue rose by 11.9% despite of a year of economic downturn.
Chairman Smit Chea of the company, whose factory is located in Long An Province bordering Ho Chi City, said 4 Oranges paid VND56 billion in tax to State budget last year, over VND6 billion higher than in 2008.
“The look for 2010 is good,” Mr. Smit said, adding that this year will be less difficult than last year, which saw global economic crisis. However, he said 2010 is still a challenging year.
According to him, the annual use of paint per person in Vietnam now is about 1.5 liters, while that in Thailand is four liters, and seven liters in developed countries. This means demand in Vietnam is still low and could keep increasing.
The businessman said his company did not reduce the staff last year “because if business comes back, you can’t have enough staff.”
“Once you selected the staff, you must keep them work with you.”
Mr. Smit said he attributed his company’s success to the work force. “In my company, the staff is very important. Via meetings, they discuss ideas and together work out solutions to problems. My company has only three foreigners – myself, the marketing director and the technical manager. All others are Vietnamese, including the director of our US$40 million factory in Long An.”
About 780 Vietnamese staff members are working for 4 Oranges, Mr. Smit said, adding that the number of foreigners in 2005 was 12.
The company manufactures four brands namely My Kolor, Spec, Boss and Expo. The chairman said 4 Oranges tries to develop low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints for the coming years.
According to scientists, low VOC or no VOC paints and finishes can be safer for people. Today, alternative manufacturing techniques have allowed the development of low- and no-VOC paints that release no, or minimal VOC pollutants, and are odor free.
Mr. Smit said he is proud of his R&D team in Vietnam. “The team is consisted of 14 Vietnamese and a foreigner. It takes them two years on average to develop a new product, using Vietnamese materials.”
He also cheers with technology. “In our enamel paint, the current ratio of water is 14%. It is much higher than in the past and will go up more in the future.”
This means the ratio of gasoline inside is going down, and this is good news in the context of increasing petrol prices in the world, according to the paint company’s chairman.