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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        28  April 2011

Siam Cement up 34 percent

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Thailand’s Siam Cement Group (SCG) is warning of possible weakened financial results in the second quarter due to seasonal effects and baht appreciation, while high oil prices could trim margins on its key petrochemical business.

Chief financial officer Chaovalit Ekabut said that despite the banner first-quarter performance, obstacles would include baht appreciation and international measures aimed at curbing inflation, which will affect revenue.

The country's top industrial conglomerate yesterday reported a 34 percent year-on-year increase in net profit to 9.2 billion baht in the quarter to March thanks to greater capacity utilisation of its second petrochemical complex. Sales totaled 92.49 billion baht, up by 35 percent.

Mr. Chaovalit said China's moves to cool its overheating economy could soften the global demand for petrochemical products, apart from the sector's seasonal slowdown.

"Demand for plastics in Asia was high in the first quarter despite the impact from Japan's natural disasters," said Mr. Chaovalit. "This quarter, spread margins have started to decline even though oil prices remain high, pushing the naphtha spot price to break US$1,000 per tonne at present."

With an average naptha price of $910 a tonne in the first quarter, the high-density polyethylene spread was $450.

Despite an expected sales volume 40 percent higher than 2010 and rising product prices, the spread margin was another story, he noted.

The group's new Map Ta Phut olefins complex is currently running at 85 percent of maximum capacity while the first Rayong Olefins plant utilizes 95 percent of its capacity. It is expected to run at full capacity at the end of this year when two suspended downstream projects in Map Ta Phut begin operations in the third and fourth quarters, Mr. Chaovalit said.

This year, petrochemical supplies will increase by another 6 million tonnes following the arrival of 12 million tonnes in 2010, with another 3 million coming next year. Normally, demand grows by 6 million tonnes a year.

"It will remain another tough year for the petrochemical industry given the supply and demand situation," he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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