There is plenty of gloom surrounding the global economy, but Swiss chemical logistics company Bertschi is bullish about the future of South-east Asia.
It is so optimistic that just one year after opening a $45 million facility on Jurong Island - its first in the region - it is investing another $35 million for a plant adjacent to the existing one. This will bring its total investment in Singapore to $80 million, and increases its total land area by 14,400 sq m.
Mr Lieven Vander Elstraeten, managing director of Bertschi Solutions Singapore, said the company is "positive about the macro-economic outlook".
"The current economic slowdown everybody is talking about is just temporary," he said.
"We strongly believe in the untapped potential of South-east Asia, with Singapore as a gateway to this market. The South-east Asian middle class will continue to grow, which will result in an increased consumption of the end products made of the speciality chemicals we are handling."
SOME FEATURES OF NEW PLANT
• The new facility will have the capacity to store 25,000 pallets with chemicals - about 100,000 drums that can store 200 litres of chemicals each.
• It will also offer expanded drumming activities, which refer to the refilling or repackaging of chemicals from larger tanks to smaller ones.
He added that the company is also increasing its capacity as it anticipates more projects, owing to the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and JTC Corporation "working hard to attract speciality chemical production companies to invest on Jurong Island".
Mr Damian Chan, EDB's executive director of energy and chemicals, said Bertschi's decision to expand in Singapore so shortly after opening its first facility "speaks volumes of the growing demand for specialised logistics services".
He added that Singapore's push to develop the speciality chemicals sector had grown the industry at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1 per cent in manufacturing output over the last decade.
Bertschi offers speciality chemical company services that include handling and storage of dangerous goods, isotank storage (containers used for the transport of bulk liquids), blending, and drumming, which refers to the refilling or repackaging of chemicals from larger tanks to smaller ones.
Its second facility, which its aims to complete in the fourth quarter of this year, will have the capacity to store 25,000 pallets with chemicals - about 100,000 drums that can store 200 litres of chemicals each.
It will also offer expanded drumming activities.
Mr Vander Elstraeten said the new facility will add at least 25 new jobs, although he quipped that "we are Swiss, and are always a bit conservative in our forecasts". After this second phase, the firm hopes to develop the third and fourth phases "within a couple of years".