Aku Valta to head up Rapala VMC Singapore
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Rapala VMC Corporation has formed a new company, Rapala VMC Singapore, to run its new production facility in Batam. The move virtually completes the transfer of the company’s manufacturing unit from China to the small Indonesian island.
Aku Valta, previously head of Rapala’s business in Australia, has been appointed Managing Director of the new operation, with responsibility for marketing, sales and product development.
Rapala VMC Corporation has been setting up the Batam business for the past two years and it is now ready to handle all of its soft plastic and metal lure production. Rapala VMC Batam will also manufacture hard baits that are sold under the Storm and Williamson brands.
The move will create easier access to labour and is seen as critical to Rapala being able to protect the price points of its products. Other strategic benefits include easy access to high-tech industries in neighbouring Singapore and less reliance on third party suppliers.
Better protection of intellectual property rights is also seen as an important factor in the move.
“The new Singapore operation enables us to focus on our core assets and to keep our entire production in-house,” Valta told Angling international. “We believe this move will help us retain our competitive edge for a long time.
“There is a huge benefit to all our brands. In particular, we will be putting a major effort behind saltwater products, which from a competitive point of view is the area where we have most headroom. The Singapore factory enables us to not only mass produce our mainstream lures, but also to cater for niche products.
“We currently have 700 employees at the facility but expect this to rise to 1,000 in the near future. The aim is to be the biggest and best lure factory in the world.”
Rapala has been manufacturing in China for more than ten years, but following the transfer, only some accessories and sourcing business remains there.
Brands coming under the wing of Rapala Singapore include Storm, Williamson, Lure-Jensen and Blue Fox. Valta remains chairman of the Rapala Australia board.