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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs       7  May 2011

Thai Oil may buy Esso

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Thailand's largest oil refinery, Thai Oil Plc (TOP), expects to finish its study of a possible acquisition of Esso (Thailand) Plc within four months. CEO Surong Bulakul said details of the proposed acquisition deal such as the amount of shares to be acquired, value of the deal and financial advisers would be made available once the study was finished.

He said the company had not officially discussed the proposal with Esso executives. Local media reports said the Thaioil board had appointed a financial adviser to conduct due diligence on acquiring assets of Esso (Thailand) for about 50 billion baht.

Esso said in a statement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand yesterday that its policy was to not comment on rumors or speculation.

However, Mr. Surong insisted that TOP needed to enhance its competitive edge over Asian oil refinery by seeking further alliances.

The company's strategic policy is to study long-term growth opportunities to expand its business while ensuring good returns for investors, he added.

"We are interested in Esso since our location is next door (in Si Racha, Chon Buri) and we could find good potential for the oil business in the future," said Mr. Surong.

TOP currently has total refining capacity of 275,000 barrels per day, and Esso 177,000 barrels. An industry source said the deal, if achieved, would enable TOP to become Southeast Asia's biggest oil refiner, larger than the Shell operations in Malaysia and Singapore.

TOP could also gain value-added products from aromatics for which demand in Asia is rising sharply.

Thai Oil forecasts global oil prices will range between US$100 and $110 per barrel this year. It is closely monitoring price swings to prevent inventory losses, using hedging to manage risk, while also seeking new crude sources from western and northern Africa.

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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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