Continental , the German automotive equipment manufacturer, plans to invest EUR100m in its first manufacturing facility in Thailand, creating around 1,000 jobs.

The new facility will be built in Rayong, Thailand's main automotive manufacturing hub, with completion scheduled for mid-2009.

Continental , through its Continental Automotive Systems, has been expanding aggressively worldwide in recent years both by acquiring well established companies and through organic growth.

The group plans to make Asia a major part of this expansion strategy and it aims to generate between 20-25% of global revenues from its operations in this region by 2015.

In 2006, Continental acquired Motorola's global automotive electronics business and, late last year, it completed the acquisition of Siemens VDO. With the latter it has gained a strong foothold in South Korea, China, India and south-east Asia, including plants and customers in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The new Thai facility will manufacture engine management systems, including diesel common-rail and fuel injection systems, and vehicle interior electronics.

The company also plans to introduce other products to south-east Asia, including products manufactured elsewhere such as tyres.

Tony Pugliese