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Overdue credit card payments jumped in Q4, NESDB says

The National Economic and Social Development Board said the rate of delinquent (three months overdue) credit-card payments jumped 31.3 per cent last quarter, while unemployment rose 0.48 per cent year on year. For the whole of 2013, the unemployment rate stood at 0.72 per cent.

NESDB secretary-general Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said that in the fourth quarter, non-performing loans for personal consumption rose 26.6 per cent, while three-month-overdue debts soared 45.8 per cent.

Although credit cards accounted for a small percentage of total credit, the rate of overdue repayments reflected a lower capability of households to service their debts. This year, such capabilities are expected to depend on the country's economic situation and employment.

Last year, employment declined 0.05 per cent as the economy slowed. This year's employment is forecast to improve on likely gains in the export sector.

PE trusts get nod

The board of the Securities and Exchange Commission has approved private-equity trusts as fund-raising channels for businesses and to encourage greater use of trusts for transactions in the capital market.

SEC secretary-general Vorapol Socatiyanurak said PE trusts would be alternative fund-raising channels for start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises and technology-based and creative businesses, as well as for business restructuring.

"To make investment in PE trusts more attractive, the SEC will further coordinate with the Ministry of Finance on tax privileges for PE trust investors," Vorapol said.

Subsidiary boosts PTT results

Moody's Investors Service says PTT's stable full-year results for 2013 were largely supported by its upstream oil and gas business through 65.29-per-cent-owned subsidiary PTT Exploration and Production.

The overall results have no impact on PTT's "Baa1" issuer and bond ratings with "stable" outlook.

PTT's consolidated sales revenue increased by 1.7 per cent to Bt2.84 trillion while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation grew marginally, by 0.5 per cent to Bt229 billion.

Compared with 2012, its natural-gas segment had the largest decline, with EBITDA contracting by Bt7.2 billion to Bt45.1 billion, followed by the oil business, where EBITDA fell by Bt2.6 billion to Bt13.4 billion.

Tisco China trigger fund

Tisco Asset Management suggests accumulation of Chinese stocks after recent corrections in the market's main composite index.

Saharat Chudsuwan, head of marketing, wealth advisory, and mutual and private fund business at Tisco Asset Management, said the company was offering an open-ended targeted fund, Tisco China Trigger 8% #14, which will invest in Chinese stocks through the Hang Seng H-Share Index ETF. The fund will end when its return reaches 8 per cent or its net asset value totals or is more than Bt10.80 per unit. The subscription period began yesterday and runs to March 4.

Tisco Asset says recent drops in China's stock index were attributable to investors' concerns over the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which fell below 50 this month.

Deutsche Bank expects Chinese gross domestic product to grow by more than 8 per cent this year. China's price-to-earnings ratio remains low at 6.49 times with over 70 per cent probability for return if P/E rises to its five-year average.

SCBC clients trade offshore

Siam Commercial Bank Securities (SCBC) has witnessed an increase in offshore trading by its customers to Bt10 million in value this month from Bt1 million as of December, after the impact of protracted political turbulence on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Viravate Vongkitbuncha, senior vice president for SCBC's international securities department, said the firm's offshore-trading portfolio was expected to reach between Bt100 million and Bt200 million by the end of this year.

The offshore trading is part of investors' risk-diversification strategy in response to the slowing Thai economy and prolonged political disturbance.



CPF board approves takeover of Hefei Chia Tai

Charoen Pokphand Foods' board of directors has approved the acquisition of 100 per cent of Hefei Chia Tai Co, which will become an indirect subsidiary of CPF.

The Chinese company is principally engaged in the manufacture and sale of animal-feed products.

MAI gets new president

The Stock Exchange of Thailand has appointed Prapan Charoenprawatt as president of its Market for Alternative Investment, effective on Saturday.

Prapan, who was also made a senior vice president of the SET, will oversee the MAI's mission to help small and medium-sized enterprises raise funds and enhance quality and sustainability.

SET president Charamporn Jotikasthira said that under Prapan's proven leadership, the MAI would continue to expand in both quality and quantity of listings.

The prospects are bright for the MAI to keep on being a key fundraising channel for businesses and a favoured choice for investors, accelerating the country's economic growth, he said.

MPIC eyes Thailand, Indonesia

Infrastructure holding firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp is scouting for fresh overseas investment opportunities related to its core water utility and toll-road businesses in Thailand and Indonesia.

In Thailand, MPIC is keen on raising its stake in the Don Muang Tollway. Chief financial officer David Nicol said the group would typically want to gain close to 50-per-cent control of its key projects.

Late last year, MPIC and Hong Kong-based parent conglomerate First Pacific Co teamed up to acquire 29.45 per cent of Don Muang Tollway Plc for about Bt4.25 billion through a joint venture, FPM Infrastructure Holdings, which is owned 75:25 by First Pacific and MPIC.

"We've only acquired the first stake. We're building relationships there and see where to take that further," he said.

Don Muang Tollway has a 27-year concession to 2034 to operate a 21.9-kilometre elevated toll road running from central to northern Bangkok. The road leads to Don Mueang International Airport.

"The hope there is that over time, more developments will go back to Don Mueang, because it's very, very expensive to build terminals in the main airport [Suvarnabhumi], so the carriers, when they relocate, they will push traffic there," Nicol said. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN


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