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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        14  March 2011

Siam Cement makes Vietnam plans

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Siam Cement Group (SCG), Thailand's leading industrial conglomerate, has made plans to triple its building material sales in Vietnam to reach a goal of 1 billion baht (US$32.4 million) by 2015 as it captures rising spending power in the country.

‘‘Vietnam is a strategic market that will help to develop our vision to become an Asean leader in building materials as the lifestyle of people is similar to Thailand,’’ says Sattawath Thitaram, adding that the first showroom will build awareness of SCG and Cotto brand.

Mr. Sattawat the Vietnam country director of SCG Building Materials, said the company would open a showroom in Ho Chi Minh City next year following last week's official launch in Hanoi. SCG aims to achieve total building material sales in Vietnam this year of around $13 million (420 million baht), up approximately 35 percent from 2010, he said.

To achieve its 2015 sales target, SCG plans to increase the number of its authorised dealers in Vietnam from 30 to 50 over the next five years to strengthen its distribution network.

SCG entered Vietnam five years ago when the group's CPAC Monier plant opened. It is now expanding its reach to retail Vietnamese buyers as well as property project developers.

The first showroom covers 660 square metres and will build awareness of the SCG brand along with Cotto, another core SCG building material, in Vietnam and other Asean markets, said Mr. Sattawat. "Vietnam is a strategic market that will help to develop our vision to become an Asean leader in building materials as the lifestyle of people is similar to Thailand," he said.

In the past few years, the Vietnamese building material market has been expanding by double digits as consumer spending rose in line with economic growth.

Apart from SCG and Cotto, there are a number of local producers and other international brands such as American Standard, Japan's Inax, Toto, as well as regional players from Malaysia and China.

However, high inflation in Vietnam will likely prompt the government to further increase interest rates, slowing property and building material sales. But at least this would prevent speculative demand in the segment, said Mr. Sattawat.

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