An Australian based thermal coding company said it has ramped up investments to P4.4 billion for the establishment of the first thermal coding plant and back office services in the Philippines calling the country a “very well-kept secret” that it’s about time to start telling investors.

anthony karam TMA - Thermal coding firm ramps up PH investments to P4.4 B
Anthony Karam, executive chairman of the TMA Group of Companies Limited (Photo credit:

Anthony Karam, executive chairman of the TMA Group of Companies Limited, said at the “Make It Happen the Philippines Campaign” virtual soft launch  that their investments started in 2019 when it won a 25-year joint venture with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)  to establish thermal coding facility in the country. Thermo coding involves the application of a chemical for the creation of a coding bar that one sees in boarding passes using almost like an invisible ink. He said this business is dominated by North America, European and Japanese firms.

“From a long time, the Philippines is a long well-kept secret and it’s time to tell people so I highly recommend that investors locate in the Philippines,” he said.

He said they have already invested P4.4 billion or AU$100 million in its plant facility and upon maturity will have 1,500 Filipinos at its plant in an economic zone in Laguna under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

According to Karam, their business started to grow in the Philippines driven but its 25 year joint venture with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in 2019.

Following its partnership with PCSO, TMA has decided to consolidate its shared services and manufacturing function in the Philippines from five locations in China, Australia, and New Zealand. The choice of the Philippines as a central hub was a result of a survey they conducted in other ASEAN countries that include China, Thailand and Vietnam.

“We found the Philippines the most favorable and continue to provide value as export hub for the rest for the world. The Philippines continued to become a true global player and we expect to continue in the coming years,” he added.

 Since then, he said, the Philippines has continued to a significant and viable operations hub for its manufacturing operations. Part of the products they manufacture at its facility located in an economic zone run by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) south of Manila include papers, ticket stands, coffee cups, packaging capsule and self-packing equipment that it exports globally, including New Zealand.

TMA also manufacturers other thermal paper products such as coated thermal paper,

top coated thermal board, top coated thermal polypropylene, non-thermal woodfree uncoated paperboard, register rolls, tito, gaming and wagering, and tags.

With operations throughout the world including US, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand, TMA continues to expand its IT solutions to provide voice analytics, artificial intelligence, 24-hour help desk requiring highly-skilled talents.

Aside from its partnership with PCSO and government tax incentives through PEZA, Karam also cited the Filipino workforce for their English proficiency and great culture. Having a highly educated workforce is important, he said, as TMA runs all its accounting and support services for its global operations right from its Manila hub.

He also cited of the low-cost operation in the Philippines noting they only spend 15 to 20 percent of what they would have invested in this kind of operation in a western country. While he noted of some congestion at the Manila, Karam said these can be remedied by having a roadmap and timing.

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