Bridgestone Corp. is building a factory in Thailand to manufacture carbon black in a bid to strengthen and stabilize its supply of raw materials for its tires. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Bridgestone Carbon Black (Thailand) Co., will start manufacturing the raw materials in the latter half of 2004, with an annual production capacity of 40,000 tons, Bridgestone said Thursday.

The company has been expanding its tire factories around Asia, creating a need for a stable supply of raw materials to meet a diversifying and increasing international demand for tires, it said.

The total investment for the Thai subsidiary is 1.7 billion baht (about 4.69 billion yen). The unit was established in November 2001 and capitalized at 1.3 billion baht (about 3.59 billion yen).

It will be the first time for Bridgestone to construct a carbon black factory by itself.

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