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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        9  June  2011

Dawei financing moves forward

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Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) expects to conclude loan agreements with creditors to finance its Dawei megaproject in Burma within this year.

Thailand's biggest construction company is also inviting both local and foreign investors to acquire up to 49 percent of the project developer Dawei Development Co (DDC), which is now wholly owned by ITD.

So far, more than 10 investors have expressed interest to become strategic partners, ITD president Premchai Karnasuta said yesterday.

They include PTT International, Electricity Generating Co (Egco) and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc, which are interested in industrial projects to be developed in Dawei.

"The project is so huge and it must have one company to take the lead for its development. That's why ITD want to maintain no less than 51 percent in DDC," Mr Premchai said.

The company will hold a roadshow in Japan next week to brief investors about Dawei, followed by events in Korea, China and India later, he said.

"We are inviting strategic partners to join us from now on," he said. "We are going to arrange charter flights for investors who want to visit the site."

Siam Commercial Bank, the financial adviser to the project, has been working on details of project financing to finalise the plan within two months.

Several international financial institutions have expressed readiness to support the project, seeing it as a key link in an economic corridor linking Vietnam, Cambodia, and Burma, he said.

The development area has a total population of 10,000, and Burmese officials have pledged that a relocation plan will follow World Bank guidelines.

The company initially expects to spend US$4 billion on infrastructures such as road and rail links and a port, and another $4 billion for infrastructure inside the industrial estate. Covering 250 square kilometres, the Dawei special economic zone (SEZ) is 10 times bigger than Map Ta Phut in eastern Thailand, Mr Premchai added.

International consultants have been hired to conduct detailed design studies for each investment project, including refineries and power plants. The studies will be finished this year.

"We will complete financial arrangements this year for construction which will start next year and finish by the end of 2015,"said Mr. Premchai.

ITD is preparing to invest 2 billion baht in Dawei this year after spending 500 million on feasibility studies and road accesses to the site on the west coast of Burma.

The company has been granted a 75-year concession for the SEZ.

Dawei, 350 kilometres from Bangkok, is designed to be a western hub for Thai products to be shipped to Europe, the Middle East, China and South Asia.

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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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