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Ayala-led IMI to open Serbia plant in 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala-led Integrated Micro-Electronics Incorporated (IMI) plans to open a new manufacturing plant in Serbia in 2018, realizing South East Europe's growth potential, particularly in the automotive sector.

IMI Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala told reporters in a roundtable in Makati City on Tuesday, November 29 that after the company spent $1.25 million to acquire a property that will expand its manufacturing capacity in Bulgaria, the Ayala-led electronics arm will now develop another plant in Serbia.

"We haven't signed yet, but now it is public," IMI chief executive officer Arthur Tan said.

This was after Serbia's economy ministry announced in August that IMI plans to build a $33.9-million plant, which is seen to start construction next year.

Although IMI did not confirm the capital spending budget earmarked for the plant, it said that it expects to "commence production in 2018."

According to the Serbian economy ministry, with the new plant, IMI can employ 1,250 in the next 10 years.

"We are looking at other European opportunities and some US opportunities. We got health, medical, industrial, automotive, aerospace, and renewable energy," said Zobel de Ayala, also the chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation.

During the first 9 months of the year, IMI registered a net income of $20.8 million, 5% lower year-on-year, as productivity improvements were tempered by higher depreciation expenses.

Revenues during the period declined at $615.7 million from $621.5 million, as a result of slower demand in the consumer and computing segments.

Operations from Europe and Mexico climbed 12 percent to $228.9 million attributed to robust sales of automotive body controls.

IMI’s China operation was down by 9% to $195.8 million in revenues in the same period, resulting from a strategic shift to exit certain consumer electronics business and weaker demand for telecom infrastructure platforms.

Its global presence include operations in 15 manufacturing sites and sales offices across China, the Philippines, Singapore, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the United States, and Mexico. 

It also has offices in Japan and Germany.

"IMI has found a niche in manufacturing extremely complex safety and control systems for automobiles. Its automotive camera modules is a component that goes into the advanced driver assistance system or ADAS applications. ADAS is the fastest growing market in automotive, estimated to grow at an annual compounded rate of 15% by 2020," Zobel de Ayala said. – Rappler.com