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Honda puts flood back-up plan in place

Honda Automobile (Thailand) has drawn up an emergency back-up plan in the event of possible flooding, including the preparation of a vehicle inventory area and the moving of machinery and staff to another location.

The company is working closely with Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya, where its car-assembly plant is located, to monitor the situation, executive vice president Pitak Pruittisarikorn said yesterday.

The park has almost completed construction of a concrete dyke around the estate. The wall is 6.05 metres above median sea level and the construction meets the standards of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, he said.

The company also has confidence in the government's water-management plan, he added.

Meanwhile, the company yesterday launched the all-new Honda CR-V sport-utility vehicle. The SUV is the ninth new model that Honda has launched into the Thai market since the reopening of its Ayutthaya plant in April.

Honda targets 20,000 sales of the new CR-V in the first year and has already sent 300 units to dealers.



Industrial estates on alert

All seven major industrial parks affected by last year's flooding have made preparations to deal with a possible repeat this year.

They have been closely monitoring the situation with their client factories and state agencies to brace for any flood-water problems.

Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate in Pathum Thani has finished 98 per cent of the construction of a dyke 5.5 metres above median sea level. It has also installed pumps with a combined capacity of 800,000 cubic metres of water per day, up from the daily maximum of 500,000 cubic metres last year.

Rojana Industrial Park's construction of its dyke is now 99 per cent complete, and the park is working with Team Consulting Engineering and Management to monitor the situation closely.

Bang Pa-in Industrial Park in Ayutthaya has finished construction of an earth wall that is 4.4 metres above sea level, while Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate, also in Ayutthaya, is raising the height of a 6.6-kilometre-long temporary dyke, bringing it to 7.5 metres above sea level. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Ayutthaya's Hi-Tech Industrial Estate said its permanent dyke was 5.4 metres above sea level. The estate remains alert in case an emergency arises.

In a related matter, Kasikorn Securities reiterated in its latest research that applications for tax privileges from the Board of Investment in July were lower than in the previous month as a result of operators' concerns over flooding.

"We still see flooding as a downside risk to Thai industrial estates," said the brokerage, citing a significant drop in applications from Japanese companies for BOI tax privileges, at just Bt2 billion in July from Bt8.5 billion in June.

Meanwhile, there was good demand for privileges in industrial estates in the East, the research added.

However, the brokerage said it was still optimistic about the overall prospects for Thai industrial-estate operators, with a solid number of applications in July totalling Bt95.7 billion of privileges, up 82.6 per cent year on year.

Kasikorn Securities has maintained its "overweight" recommendation on industrial-estate stocks, citing Amata as its top pick. It maintains its target for Amata's sales bookings this year at 1,800 rai (288 hectares) of saleable land, far below the developer's target of 3,000 rai.

The brokerage has also picked two more industrial-estate stocks, Hemraj and Ticon. The former company has booked 1,447 rai of sales, accounting for 63 per cent of its full-year target, while the latter is expected to book sales of Bt3.9 billion this year.


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