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March 25, 2009

Thai conglomerate delays Vietnam project

Siam Cement Plc, Thailand's largest industrial conglomerate, said on Tuesday it was delaying a plan to build a $3.77 billion petrochemical complex in Vietnam for at least two years.

The delay was due to the global economic crisis, which made it difficult for the company and its partner, Petrovietnam, to finance the project, President Kan Trakulhoon was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters.

"With an economic slowdown like this, it will be difficult to get money to finance this kind of project, which requires a huge investment budget," Kan said.

The petrochemical complex is the third foreign project Siam Cement has delayed due to the global crisis. The other two are a cement plant in Indonesia and another in Cambodia.

Vietnamese state oil group Petrovietnam and Siam Cement began construction of the joint-venture petrochemical complex last year in the southern province of Ba Rai Vung Tao.

The first part of the project was expected to be completed in 2011 and the second in 2013.

At home, Siam Cement will go ahead with a plan to build a second olefins plant at a cost of $1.2 billion in a joint investment with Dow Chemical, which was expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2010, Kan said.

The company was also looking for an opportunity to buy assets related to its main businesses -- cement, paper and petrochemicals -- and three operators had offered to sell assets to it, Kan said, without elaborating.

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