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SAMART ACQUIRES AXIATA STAKE IN SIM

Malaysian telecom operator Axiata Group has divested its nearly 24-per-cent stake in Samart I-Mobile (SIM) to the latter's parent Samart Corp.

According to Samart's filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand yesterday, it signed a share purchase agreement with Axiata for 1,053,000,000 SIM shares, which represents 23.93 per cent of the total, at Bt2.73 per share. After this transaction, Samart will have a 74.11-per-cent stake in SIM.

According to a separate Samart release, the deal is worth Bt2.875 |billion.

Samart president Watchai Vilailuck said Axiata had held shares in Samart group since 1997. He added that the Malaysian firm's exit did not stem from any conflict with Samart but was done for business reasons and Axiata's investment policy. While Axiata is a telecom operator, SIM's main business is content and handset distribution.

He added that the change in the shareholding structure in SIM would not have any impact on its business.

BOI NODS TO 24 PROJECTS

A Board of Investment subcommittee yesterday approved investment promotion privileges for 24 projects with combined value of Bt14.47 billion, mostly pertaining to automotive components and agricultural industry.

It also screened applications for nine large-scale projects, mostly wind-powered electricity-generating plants, worth a combined investment of Bt28.09 billion.

MCOT CHAIRMAN NAMED

MCOT's board on Tuesday appointed Defence Ministry permanent secretary Surasak Karnjanarat as chairman, and the permanent secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, ML Panadda Diskul, as vice chairman.

NBTC MEETS TOT, CAT

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will meet with TOT and CAT Telecom today in an effort to clear up problems that have affected the state agencies' operations.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said that if the meeting comes up with solutions, they will be proposed to the military's ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) next week so that the suspended plans to auction 1,800- and 900-megahertz spectrum licences in August and November can get back on track.

NATIONWIDE INSPECTION OF RICE WAREHOUSES BEGINS TODAY

A task force established by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will start inspecting the quantity and quality of rice at every warehouse nationwide from today, beginning in four provinces - Kamphaeng Phet in the upper Central region, Chachoengsao in the East, Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast, and Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South.

ML Panadda Diskul, permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, said the inspecting team, which is mainly made up of military and representatives from government agencies, the Office of the Auditor-General of Thailand, and the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said the mission was expected to be complete nationwide within a month.

So far, about 100 people have been trained on inspection methods. They will check through more than 1,000 warehouses nationwide, which stock about 18 million tonnes of rice.

ILO, SOUTH KOREA SIGN US$1 MILLION FUNDING DEAL TO IMPROVE WORKING CONDITIONS

The South Korean government is to contribute US$1 million (Bt32 million) to programmes run by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to improve working conditions in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the world.

The arrangement is part of the Korea/ILO Partnership Programme for 2014. In Asia and the Pacific it will fund work related to competitiveness, productivity and jobs; governance and social protection; and labour migration.

It will also fund global work to strengthen and share knowledge on effective national employment policies, and a global database on national occupational safety and health legislation.

MYANMAR'S TRADE DEFICIT RISES IN THE |SECOND QUARTER AS ECONOMY OPENS UP

Myanmar's second-quarter trade deficit passed US$1.4 billion (Bt45 billion) as the economy continues to open up to foreign investment, its government said yesterday.

The value of exports - including oil, gas and timber - between April and June was more than $2.2 billion, but $3.6 billion was spent on imports, the Central Statistical Organisation said.

"Due to the decrease in exports of timber, fisheries and mineral products, Myanmar is likely to suffer a trade deficit for the whole year," said Maung Maung Lay, vice chairman of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The deficit grew by $1 billion compared with the second quarter of last year, according to government data.


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