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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.

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