Pledging prices to be set Monday
The government is set to finalise the new pledging price for rice during the National Rice Policy Committee meeting on Monday.
After a meeting with four rice farmers' associations, Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsongpaisan said the government had come up with two options: to maintain the current price of Bt15,000 a tonne of white paddy, or cut it to Bt13,000.
If the government keeps the price at Bt15,000, farmers would be limited to participating in the programme only once a year with a maximum subsidy value of Bt500,000 per household. If the price is cut to Bt13,000, farmers would be able to join the scheme twice a year with a maximum subsidy of Bt300,000 per household per round.
The government wants to limit its spending on the rice pledging scheme to only Bt250 billion a year.
ThaiBev's debt pay-down called credit-positive
Thai Beverage's use of the 1.353 billion Singapore dollars (Bt33.7 billion) it received from capital reduction by Fraser and Neave on July 31 to pay down its long-term debt of S$1 billion and short-term debt of S$353 million early this month is credit-positive for ThaiBev, according to Moody's Investors Service.
The transaction has allowed the firm to lower its leverage significantly, particularly after its weak earnings performance in the first half. Pro forma for the debt reduction, the company's adjusted debt-to-EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) declined from 4.2 times as of June 30 to 2.8 times, a level that supports its current "Baa3" rating.
In May, F&N's board proposed a capital reduction for a total aggregated amount of S$4.73 billion, to be funded via internal cash and equivalents. The distribution accounts for around 85 per cent of the gross sale proceeds of F&N's interests - worth S$5.59 billion - in Asia Pacific Brewery. Based on ThaiBev's 28.61-per-cent stake in F&N, it received proceeds of S$1.353 billion.
ThaiBev had incurred more than S$3 billion in debt last year to assume its stake in F&N. Consequently, its leverage, as measured by adjusted debt/EBITDA, had risen to more than 4 times from less than 1 time historically.
Thai-Italian pact on SMEs proposed
The Industry Ministry will on Tuesday propose to the Cabinet that it approve an agreement between Thailand and Italy on joint development of small and medium-sized enterprises in both countries.
A ministry source said that the agreement called for cooperative development of the food, agriculture, fashion, energy and machinery industries.
Berli Jucker enters JV deal
Berli Jucker subsidiary BJC Logistics and Warehouse Co has entered an agreement with Phongpaseuth Kanlagna for a joint venture in wholesale and retail business.
BJLW will transfer 1,274,000 ordinary shares in BJC-Mpoint International Co, which is equivalent to 49 per cent of its total issued and paid-up capital, to Phongpaseuth Kanlagna, totalling to Bt127.4 million.
After the deal, BJLW will hold 51 per cent of BJMP and the rest will be held by Phongpaseuth Kanlagna.
Berli Jucker also reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand that its subsidiary BJC-Mpoint International held a 100-per-cent stake in a new subsidiary in Laos, BJC-MPM (Lao) Sole Co, with registered capital of Bt103.53 million.
BJC-MPM (Lao) Sole Co is a consulting service on trade and investment in Laos.
Asean ministers ready for trade mission to China
Economic ministers from Asean countries will join a mission to China including Hong Kong in October to promote trade and investment.
Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsongpaisan said the ministers would work on tie-ups in several sectors and would also consider putting an Asean-Hong Kong
free-trade agreement on the table for discussions next year.
Businesspeople will also join the mission.
Separately, Asean and Japan are scheduled to wrap up their negotiations on service and investment liberalisation this year under the Asean-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Business council aims to ease trade barriers
The Thai-Malaysia Business Council met for the first time yesterday to look for ways to break the trade barriers between the two countries as well as find joint investment opportunities, council chairman Surong Bulakul said.
He said the council was also aiming to develop a logistics system to boost trade and facilitate transport.
"We are also interested in developing the rubber industry in both countries," he said, adding that the council will work on coming up with some proposals for the government.
The value of trade between Thailand and Malaysia was US$25.53 billion (Bt815.3 billion) last year, up 5.8 per cent from $24.73 billion in 2011. Thailand exported goods worth Bt383.7 billion to Malaysia and imported Bt409.6 billion worth.
FTI launches first contest for plastic products
The Plastic Industry Club of the Federation of Thai Industries, together with the Thai Plastic Industries Association and the Plastic Institute of Thailand, has launched Thailand's first Plastics Awards to encourage the development of value-added products as well as the creation of products that can compete at the international level.
Contenders can send their products under any of 10 categories: housewares; rigid packaging for food; non-food rigid packaging; flexible packaging; healthcare packaging; medical and healthcare products; construction products; toys, gifts and stationery products; electrical, automotive and other durable products/parts; and disposable products.
Applications can be submitted until October 10. The awards will be handed out on October 31 at the Army Club on Bangkok's Vipahavadi-Rangsit Road.
Yuttana Jiamtragan, chairman of the FTI Plastic Industry Club, said that since there was intense competition in the industry, producers had to focus now on adding value to their products such as better design and function and making them more eco-friendly.
Rangsit chooses Acer Smart Cloud Builder
Acer Smart Cloud Builder has been chosen by Rangsit University to host its administration and research applications.
With this private cloud, the institution expects to enhance operational and academic efficiency, minimise the resources needed and lower the total cost of ownership (TCO). The solution also provides flexibility for future expansion needs. Acer's cloud-builder solution is already installed and functioning fully at Rangsit University.
"This groundbreaking IT transformation to cloud empowers our competitiveness in the global education arena," said Thossaporn Thossansin, director of the Information Technology Service Centre, Rangsit University. "By leveraging Acer technologies, Rangsit University's academic performance will continue to excel."