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Traditional trade still dominates retail market: poll

Traditional trade remained the key retail model in Thailand, according to a consumer survey by Nielsen taken during the third quarter of 2013.

The research firm found that the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market grew by as much as 7.3 per cent in the third quarter over the same period of 2012.

Convenience stores enjoyed 18.2-per-cent growth due to an increase in the variety of products being offered.

Nevertheless, the traditional trade model remains an important force, dominating the retail industry with a market share of 49.4 per cent and growth of 3.9 per cent.

Ranking among the three best-selling products of the traditional trade industry are beers, energy drinks and whiskies, with more than 70 per cent of the market.

However, that is not to say that traditional trade is the main distribution channel for only beverages. It is also important for food condiments, insecticides, cigarettes, cooking products and ice creams, all of which rank among the top 10 best-sellers.

Thai Oil sees weak Q4

Moody's Investors Service says Thai Oil's financial results for the fourth quarter of 2013 were weaker than expected and were mainly reflective of seasonally low refining margins. The full-year 2013 results, although softer, were broadly in line with Moody's expectations and can be accommodated at its "Baa1" issuer rating with a "stable" outlook.

"Thai Oil's Q4 gross refining margin fell 62 per cent to [US]$1.90 per barrel as compared [with] the immediately preceding quarter, given the lower regional refining margins and weaker crack spreads resulting from a slowdown in regional demand. Consequently, EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation] for the quarter declined by 59 per cent compared [with] the third quarter 2013, to Bt4.3 billion," said Vikas Halan, a Moody's vice president and senior analyst.

Deal to build tugboat

Asian Marine Services has signed a contract with the Port Authority of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, to build a tugboat worth US$6.3 million (Bt204 million).

The construction period will be 18 months.

TrueVisions expands HD tech

Elemental Technologies, a supplier of software-based video solutions for content delivery to any device, announced that TrueVisions was enlarging its existing Elemental installation to power the rapid expansion of its premium high-definition (HD) and multiscreen services.

TrueVisions, which has about 2 million subscribers, is employing ElementalLive for video processing and delivery of more than 60 channels for multiscreen, including an increased number available in high-quality HD. Elemental is also powering the TrueVisions Anywhere multiscreen service, which enables customers to view content on any mobile device and to personalise their experience with functions including two-hour time-shift, two-day catch-up and on-demand access.

"TrueVisions places a premium on delivering the best and most varied content along with a high-quality viewer experience," said Vichai Sernvongsat, chief technology officer of TrueVisions.

AOT on watch over possible B/E purchase from BAAC

An Airports of Thailand (AOT) board meeting scheduled for tomorrow is being closely watched on whether it will consider a "cash management" policy allowing it to buy bills of exchange issued by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).

Some AOT employees wearing black gathered at its office building on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road to protest against the agency's using money to buy bonds from the BAAC, which they fear would fund the government's rice-pledging scheme.

As of December 31, AOT's cash in hand was Bt6.88 billion and short-term investment Bt36.30 billion.



Temasek eyes Shin Corp sale

Singapore's Temasek Holdings has held talks about selling its stake in Thailand's Shin Corp, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The state-owned investment company has held discussions with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, two of the people said. Political tension in Thailand has hurt prospects for reaching a deal, another person said.

Temasek is Shin's biggest shareholder with a 41.6-per-cent holding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stake would be worth about US$3.1 billion (Bt100 billion) based on the current market price. Shin holds a stake in Advanced Info Service, the biggest mobile-phone company in Thailand.



WTO agriculture panel set

Members of the World Trade Organisation have set up an agricultural committee to accelerate liberalisation of farm-goods trading to help developing and least developed countries (LDCs).

Somkiat Triratpan, deputy director-general of the Thai Trade Negotiations Department, said the new WTO committee should support the finalisation of a previously agreed package soon so that poorer countries should benefit from the market liberalisation.

Thailand plans to reduce tariffs for 6,998 items for LDCs.



Vouchers could start in June

The distribution of free vouchers to households nationwide towards the purchase of digital-TV receivers could commence in June, National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) chairman Thares Punsri said yesterday.

Thares, who is also chairman of the board of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Resources Development Fund for Public Interest (BTFPI), said the fund expected to consider the face value of the vouchers in April.

The BTFPI is currently waiting for the NBTC broadcasting committee to submit the overall voucher plan, including value and distribution details.




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