Penang, 27 January 2022 – Swiss-based VAT Group AG, the world’s leading supplier of high-performance vacuum valves, today held a groundbreaking ceremony to initiate the extension of its production facility in Penang, Malaysia. The new plant will cover an area of about 39,200 square meters and is estimated to create 500 employment opportunities once completed and running at full capacity. This project will more than double the production capacity of VAT’s Malaysian operation, increasing factory output to over CHF 1 billion (MYR 4.6 billion).
The ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of Switzerland to Malaysia, Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin, Penang Deputy Chief Minister 1 YB Dato’ IR Haji Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, and representatives from numerous other local organizations, including the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), InvestPenang, the Penang Development Corporation (PDC), and other distinguished guests.
Her Excellency Madam Andrea Reichlin, Penang Deputy Chief Minister 1 YB Dato’ IR Haji Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, Mike Allison, CEO of VAT, Thomas Berden, COO of VAT, Urs Gantner, Head of VAT’s business unit Semiconductor and Paraveen Singham, Managing Director of VAT Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd officially broke the ground for the extended production site.
Congratulating VAT Manufacturing Malaysia on its commendable milestone in the country, Dato’ Arham Abdul Rahman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MIDA said “The extension of VAT’s enhanced vacuum valve technology manufacturing facility reflects the long-term global growth in demand for the industry, and how Malaysia is well-positioned to harness these opportunities. While leveraging on Malaysia’s attractive industry ecosystem, this facility will be of strategic importance to attract more multinational companies particularly from various high-end equipment industries that use the company’s technology to set up their plants in Malaysia. This will attribute to the enhancement of the country’s supply chain, particularly for the semiconductor industry. The extension will also create new and high value job opportunities for Malaysians and accelerate the export of made-in-Malaysia products to the world.”
“As of September 2021, MIDA has approved a total of 230 manufacturing projects from Switzerland worth MYR 14.0 billion. The sustained inflow of Swiss investments into Malaysia reflects the country’s continuous competitiveness for businesses. The very fact that these companies continue to invest in Malaysia, even during such challenging times in the global economy, is indeed noteworthy and as testament to the conducive investment climate in the country,” added Dato’ Arham.
“True to its reputation as the Silicon Valley of the East, Penang, aside from being one of the prominent hubs for electrical and electronic (E&E) manufacturing, which accounted for an estimated 5% of global semiconductor sales, is also a regional thriving hub in machinery and equipment (M&E) and medical devices. Importantly, we are proud that Penang is gaining momentum in frond-end equipment manufacturing, where VAT plays an important role in the value chain,” said Dato’ Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, Penang’s Deputy Chief Minister 1, representing the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Penang, Mr. Chow Kon Yeow to officiate the groundbreaking ceremony.
The launching of VAT’s Phase Three extension in Penang, substantially will increase the company’s production capacity further with an initial investment of about CH F70 million (MYR 321 million) over the period 2022 – 2024.
“After thoroughly assessing a number of options for expanding our production capacity, we concluded that Penang was the best location for a number of reasons,” explained Mike Allison, VAT’s CEO. “Our team in Penang has already done a great job ramping up production in recent years to meet the needs of our fast-growing market, and our decision to expand further in Penang is acknowledgement of their outstanding efforts. In addition, several of our largest OEM customers have operations in the region and boosting our production there will enhance our ability to collaborate with them more effectively and deliver value faster and more efficiently.
“MIDA, InvestPenang, PSDC and all local authorities have rendered us with excellent support over the last several years and we look forward to working with them during this next extension step.” he added.
Once completed and running at full capacity, the extension is expected to contribute approximately 50 per cent of VAT’s total global production capacity by 2028. VAT Manufacturing Malaysia will be the primary supplier for the company’s customers in Republic of Korea, Japan, People’s Republic of China and the rest of Asia. Currently, the local plant employs about 600 people and with demand driven by long-term trends such as global digitalisation, the company anticipates the employment growth to over 1200 people by the end of 2027.
VAT first began the construction of its manufacturing facility in Penang in 2012 and commenced production in April 2013. The first phase of the Company’s factory is reflected through an investment of over CH F30 million (MYR 102 million) in a 6,000 square-meter factory, a landmark event for VAT as it was the company’s largest-ever capital investment outside of Switzerland.
In September 2019, VAT inaugurated the second extension of its Penang factory with an investment amounted to CHF 40 million (MYR 165 million), covering an area of 24,000 square-meter to support the company’s significant growth. The operations in Malaysia play a prominent role in the company’s strategy to further build its global market and technology leadership, to cater for its customers within niche and targeted sectors, especially key customers in Asia, as well as to increase the speed and flexibility of the company’s global footprint. VAT’s second expansion included new resources in engineering and product management which enable them to respond faster based on the increasing demands in the region.
 Bank Negara currency exchange rate as of 24 January 2022: 4.5779
MIDA is the government’s principal promotion agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to oversee and drive investments into the manufacturing and services sectors in Malaysia. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur Sentral, MIDA has 12 regional and 20 overseas offices. MIDA continues to be the strategic partner to businesses in seizing the opportunities arising from the technology revolution of this era. For more information, please visit www.mida.gov.my and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
VAT is the leading global developer, manufacturer and supplier of high-end vacuum valves. VAT vacuum valves are mission-critical components for advanced manufacturing processes of innovative products used in daily life such as portable devices, flat screen monitors or solar panels. VAT is organized into two different reporting segments: Valves and Global Service offering high-end vacuum valves, multi-valve modules, edge-welded bellows and related value-added services for an array of vacuum applications. VAT Group is a global player with over 2’500 employees and main manufacturing sites in Haag (Switzerland), Penang (Malaysia) and Arad (Romania). Net sales in the financial year 2021 amounted to CHF 901 million.
About VAT Manufacturing Malaysia
VAT began production in Penang, Malaysia, in 2013 with approximately 50 employees. By 2021, the facility employed about 500 people and produced more than CHF 200 million in factory output in 2021. The facility manufactures a wide variety of vacuum valves and modules, including some of the most technologically advanced products. The facility also offers customers in the region engineering support and the complete range of VAT’s service, repair and retrofit offerings.
InvestPenang is the Penang State Government’s principal agency for promotion of investment. Its objectives are to develop and sustain Penang’s economy by enhancing and continuously supporting business activities in the State through foreign and local investments, including spawning viable new growth centers. To realize its objectives, InvestPenang also runs initiatives like the SMART Penang Centre (providing assistance to SMEs), Penang CAT Centre (for talent attraction and retention) and i4.0 seed fund (a catalyst for the start-up ecosystem).
For media enquiries, please contact:
Ms. Zakiah Sajidan
Director of Machinery and Metal Technology Division
T +603 2267 6769
VAT Group AG
Communications & Investor Relations
Michel R. Gerber
T +41 81 772 42 55
VAT Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.
Paraveen T.S. Singham
T +604 503 8989
Communications & Business Intelligence
Yeoh Bit Kun / Ooi Phei Wen
T +604 646 8833
Email : email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org