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Singapore economy grew 6.1% last quarter

Singapore's economy expanded last quarter after a pick-up in manufacturing at the year-end, with the government predicting an improvement in overseas demand this year amid a global recovery.

Gross domestic product rose an annualised 6.1 per cent in the three months through December from the previous quarter, when it climbed a revised 0.3 per cent, the Trade Ministry said in a statement. That compares with a January estimate of a 2.7-per-cent contraction and the median in a Bloomberg News survey of 12 analysts for a 0.8-per-cent gain.

The expansion is good news for the city-state's companies that have struggled with tepid demand and rising costs. At the same time, as one of the most open economies, Singapore is vulnerable to fluctuations in world growth, and the International Monetary Fund said this year's improved global outlook hinged on recent market volatility from Turkey to Brazil being short-lived.

The underlying growth trend is underpinned by improving global conditions, but the recovery will also be bumpy, said Vishnu Varathan, an economist at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

The Singapore government was to announce its annual budget yesterday. - Bloomberg

FPT enlists Temasek help for acquisition in Singapore

FPT Corp, Vietnam's largest publicly traded telecommunications and software company, enlisted Temasek Holdings to help it identify a Singapore technology company for acquisition to boost sales overseas.

FPT will spend as much as US$20 million (Bt650 million) on a Singapore acquisition, chief executive officer Bui Quang Ngoc said. The company, which had sales of 28.6 trillion dong (Bt44 billion) in 2013, seeks to more than triple its revenue from overseas to $400 million by the end of 2016, co-founder Ngoc, who took charge in July, said in Hanoi. - Bloomberg

Hershey-DKSH link expands to Myanmar

DKSH's consumer goods business unit, a specialist in market-expansion services for fast-moving consumer goods in Asia, has signed an agreement with Hershey to distribute its products to a wide range of retail channels in Myanmar.

DKSH will support Hershey's market expansion in Myanmar and provide marketing, merchandising, sales and logistics services.

The contract is an extension of DKSH's existing partnership with Hershey, aimed at reaching out to promising markets in Southeast Asia. In addition to Myanmar, DKSH and Hershey have a close partnership in Singapore and Malaysia, where DKSH provides the same service to Hershey in both modern and traditional retail trade.

Egat to extend fibre-optic network outside Thailand

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) plans to extend its fibre-optic network into neighbouring countries.

The extension will be rolled out alongside the planned power-transmission line to China and Laos as part of the Asean power-grid project.

Currently Egat leases its fibre-optic network to telecom operators in Thailand. It target Bt600 million in revenue from this business this year, up from Bt575 million last year, driven by the surging demand for data content by 3G mobile phone users.



PTTGC may reconsider venture

PTT Global Chemical might hold off on jointly investing in a polycarbonate and polyol project with Malaysian state-run oil company Petronas after a study showed that the internal rate of return would be lower than the previously expected 15 per cent, said Boworn Vongsinudom, chief executive officer and president of PTTGC.

If it does pull out of the deal, PTTGC can seek polycarbonate and polyol in the market to supply its downstream products.

Meanwhile, a joint venture with Indonesia's Pertamina for a petrochemical complex is expected to be decided on by midyear.

Boworn said PTTGC's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) this year might not grow by 10 per cent as planned because many plants in its aromatic group will be shut down for maintenance, which will pull down production capacity.

Last year, PTTGC earned EBITDA of Bt58.36 billion, up 2 per cent from 2012.



London, German state honoured

In a study of the most promising investment locations in Europe, fDi magazine, a Financial Times publication, has crowned London and Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany as respective winners of the "European City and Region of the Future 2014/15" titles.

London demonstrated a clear strategy for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and ranked first in the Economic Potential category for major European cities. The city also ranked second in the Infrastructure category, thanks in part to its forthcoming Crossrail project - the largest civil-engineering project in Europe.

Among large European regions, Nordrhein-Westfalen, known in English as North Rhine-Westphalia, ranked first, rising six places from the previous ranking in 2012-13. The region also ranked third in Economic Potential and second in Human Capital.

Helsinki emerged as a new top entry in the Top 25 European Cities category, ranking second.




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