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Economy August 23, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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Industry Ministry finalising eco-car project policy

The Industry Ministry has announced that conditions for Phase 2 of the eco-car project are nearly finalised and will be forwarded to the Board of Investment (BOI) for next week’s meeting. 
Meanwhile, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has expressed concerns that rushing to get approval of Phase 2 of the policy could affect Phase I manufacturers.
Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk will chair a meeting today of the subcommittee for investment promotion policy to discuss Phase 2 of the eco-car policy, according to a ministry source. The results will be forwarded to the BOI meeting to be chaired by Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong next Wednesday.
Planned policy of the eco-car is likely to be announced this year for next year’s investment, the source said. Thailand hopes to have produced 3 million eco-cars by 2017.  Five carmakers are expected to invest in Phase I of the eco-car project. They are Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Suzuki. 
True’s licence bid ‘doomed’  
The telecom committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is expected to reject TrueMove’s application for a telecom licence as advised by its office.
The committee is expected to consider the company’s request for the licence on Monday. However, the panel has been advised that the company’s request for a licence contradicts the NBTC’s plans to allow TrueMove to collaborate with CAT Telecom to continue serving TrueMove’s 17 million customers for one year after its concession ends on September 15. 
TrueMove made the request in April when the NBTC had yet to finalise its plan to allow the company to continue serving those customers. The NBTC board recently approved the plan, which will be published in the Royal Gazette. 
Budget set for FamilyMarts 
Central FamilyMart – owner of the FamilyMart convenience stores and a subsidiary of Central Retail Corporation – has set over Bt1 billion as part of next year’s budget to expand its branch coverage in Bangkok and the provinces. 
The cost is expected to be between Bt3 million and Bt4 million per branch, according to chief executive officer Nath Vongphanich.
In the first half of 2013, the company spent more than Bt1 billion to open 120 additional branches. It currently operates 913 FamilyMart stores in Thailand with plans to hit the 1,000-store mark by the end of the year. It expects to have 3,000 stores within the next four years.
Canadian Mint gets baht coin deal 
The Royal Canadian Mint has been awarded a contract by Thailand’s Royal Thai Mint to produce 200 million nickel-plated steel blanks for its Bt1 circulation coin. 
Ian Bennett, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, said the growth of the mint’s foreign business was a key priority as the corporation pursued its objective to own 15 per cent of the global mint market by 2020. 
Singer boosts growth target after strong H1 sales
Singer Thailand has raised its revenue-growth target for this year from 15 per cent to 25 per cent after witnessing strong demand in the first half, boosting revenue by 35 per cent from the same period of 2012.
The company reported revenue of Bt1.9 billion and net profit of Bt195.89 million in the first six months of this year.
Managing director Boonyong Tansakul said that although the country’s economy was tipped to grow more slowly in the second half, Singer was confident of reaching its new growth target.
He said the company had seen a strong rise in customers buying on instalment plans, especially home appliances.
Singer Thailand has 180,000 membership accounts and targets 190,000 by the end of the year. 
Of these, only 4.4 per cent are non-performing, lower than its tolerance ceiling of 5 per cent.
Laos JV kicks off TMC move into Asean
TMC Industrial has begun expanding into Asean countries after setting up a joint-venture firm, TMC-Lao Assembly & Manufacturing Co, with Laotian company SV Construction Sole Co on June 20.
“We plan to distribute our products in Asean countries as demand in this region rises after the Asean Economic Community becomes effective in 2015,” CEO Surachet Kamolmongkolsuk said.
TMC expects its business expansion to grow revenue this year by at least 25 per cent from the Bt1 billion it posted in 2012.
The company reported revenue of Bt438.52 million and net profit of Bt24.79 million in the first half of this year.
Property expos aim for Bt10 billion 
Three property expos target total sales of Bt10 billion from four days of events between now and Sunday at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre in Bangkok.
They are “Home Builder 2013”, “Home Buyers’ Expo 2013”, and “NPA Grand Sale/Home Loan 2013”. 
The Home Builders Association targets sales of Bt2.85 billion at the Home Builder Expo, president Dr Patchara Tantayanyong said.
Meanwhile, Homebuyers Guide Co targets Bt4 billion in sales at the Buyers’ Expo, and NPA Grand Sale/Home Loan targets at least Bt3 billion.
Hua Hin had 22,619 condos end-June
The cumulative supply of Hua Hin condominiums as of the first half of this year stood at 22,619 units, increasing by 24.9 per cent from the end of 2012, according to a survey by property consultancy Knight Frank.
During the first six months, about 4,517 units in seven condo projects were launched.
The unit take-up rate was particularly bright, with 2,489 units sold. The take-up rate has gradually increased to 52 per cent, with total demand of around 11,395 units as of the end of June.
The price of condominiums in the Kao Tao area increased sharply, by around 6 per cent, from an average of Bt96,944 per square metre at the end of 2012 to Bt103,072 during the first half of this year.
JAL to fly Dreamliner to Bangkok
Japan Airlines plans to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Bangkok as part of a revision in flight frequencies and fleet plans for the rest of fiscal year 2013 (ending March 31, 2014). 
In the airline’s domestic network, flight frequencies on select routes will be adjusted to meet demand better as well as accommodating changes in customer travel patterns. 
The Boeing 787-8 flight will be among seven weekly round-trip flights to Bangkok. 
TRIS rates planned Kiatnakin debentures
TRIS Rating has assigned a rating of “A-” to the proposed issue of up to Bt10 billion in senior debentures of Kiatnakin Bank. At the same time, TRIS Rating has affirmed the company and current senior debenture ratings of KK at “A-”. The outlook remains “positive”. 
The ratings reflect the improvements in KK’s business profile and financial position after it merged with Phatra Capital. They also reflect KK’s experienced management team and high level of capital funds, TRIS said.