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NEWS UPDATES 18 June 2010

SCG Paper sees 10 percent sales hike

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SCG Paper, Southeast Asia's largest paper producer, expects its sales this year to grow more than 10 percent to reach 48 billion baht (US$ 1.5 billion) due to additional output from a new kraft paper plant in Vietnam and improved domestic sales, President Chaovalit Ekabut told the Bangkok Post.

The rising price of paper and pulp across the globe should also drive revenue this year. Last year, the pulp and paper segment of Thailand's largest industrial conglomerate, Siam Cement Group, was 42.73 billion baht.

Mr. Chaovalit said its sales volume was expected to reach 2.88 million tonnes from 2.6 million last year because of the new plant.

He added that this year it may conclude some paper asset acquisitions in Southeast Asia in the second half to tap into the growing regional economy. Agreements with as many as 10 operators in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are under negotiation.

He declined to give further details but said the cooling global economy last year hurt many operators, forcing them to talk with SCG.

He said paper and pulp price should remain high this year due to rising demand, particularly for industrial paper.

Exports remain strong as Thai political violence only marginally affected the business, while the company is monitoring the financial crisis in Europe as it is a key market.

Domestically, SCG will focus on adding value to paper products through more durable packages, more complicated designs and producing functional paper.

The company started exporting writing paper called "the Idea" to Laos this year and expects to send it other countries in Asean in the future.

Its business practice has changed rapidly from cost control to social responsibility, as paper customers consider products that return something to society, he added.

Shares of Siam Cement (SCC) closed yesterday on the SET at 255 baht, down four baht, in trade worth 434 million.

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