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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     6  October  2011                    

PTT may buy cheap assets

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The current drop in global stock markets, sparked by escalating concerns over the European debt crisis, has presented opportunities for PTT Plc to buy cheap foreign assets in coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG), say executives.

"As stock markets have slumped, we are seeing greater opportunities emerge for PTT to launch merger and acquisition bids for coal and LNG businesses," said chief financial officer Tevin Vongvanich.

According to Mr. Tevin, the company has been evaluating the effects of economic difficulties in Europe and the US on the group's businesses, cash flow and bottom line.

The impact is unlikely to be significant, he said, as problems have concentrated in the public sector while businesses in those markets have remained strong.Indonesia and Australia are the group's targeted countries for coal, while Qatar, Australia, Indonesia and Africa are promising destinations for the LNG business.

PTT has undertaken risk management, partly through the hedging of exchange rates, Mr. Tevin said. He predicted that the European crisis and economic slowdown in the US would slow consumption in Asian economies.

"Thus we need to watch the situation closely and remain cautious in planning and managing the business," he said.

PTT also remains firm in its plan to issue debentures worth 20 billion baht in November, though market sentiment is not particularly attractive.

"The new debenture is to redeem the existing ones," Mr. Tevin said. "We see no problem in raising that amount."

PTT earlier cut its year-end fund-raising target from 35 billion baht to 20 billion, postponing some projects amid weakening prospects for demand in the US economy.

The revision reflected a reduced capital expenditure target this year of 70 billion baht, down from 95 billion estimated earlier.

The giant oil and gas conglomerate also plans to cut this year's investment budget from 95.8 billion baht to 77.5 billion as it delays some investments, mainly in power plants and coal projects abroad.

PTT will include the cut funds in next year's spending, thereby raising the 2012 investment budget to 94.1 billion baht.

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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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