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BMTA gets junta's approval to purchase 3,500 NGV buses

The junta yesterday gave the green light to the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) to complete its plan to purchase 3,500 natural-gas-powered buses by the end of the fiscal year ending September 30.

The plan has been delayed for several years. The BMTA now has a total of 3,500 buses, but only around 2,700-2,800 are available to serve the public.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) also authorised the BMTA to seek a Bt4.4 billion-loan to repay debts incurred from fuel and maintenance. This was to improve the organisation's cash flow and interest costs.

The loan will be secured and guaranteed by the Finance Ministry, said NCPO spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp.

"The new loan will help the BMTA save interest expenditure of Bt13.7 million monthly or Bt164.2 million a year, when compared with interest costs incurred from its existing loans," he said.

Yongyuth said the BMTA had also been instructed to make a draft of its routing plans.

In regard to the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank initiated by China, Thailand will consider taking part in the bank, the spokesman said.

In another development, the NCPO has assigned all relevant agencies to outline the short-to-long-term action plans as a whole picture of development of the country's infrastructure mega-project.

A draft bill on fair debt-collection practices has also been approved by the junta, obliging collectors to operate in a manner that does not violate debtors' rights.

Under the law proposed by Finance Ministry, debt collectors will be required to register their businesses with the ministry and will be subject to penalties if they intimidate debtors with violence.

SCCC posts 9percent sales jump in second quarter

Siam City Cement's second-quarter sales rose 9 per cent to Bt16.48 billion from Bt15.06 billion last year.

Consolidated net profit surged 19 per cent to Bt3.37 billion from Bt2.83 billion in the same quarter last year. Earnings per share improved to Bt14.67 from Bt12.32.

Sales were driven by exports and timely revenue expansion in the building-materials product segment despite a decline in domestic cement sales.

The company says it continues to benefit from its focused approach to growing its core activities while emphasising enhanced value to customers with new product offerings.

Net profit and profit margins further improved as key energy saving initiatives and operating efficiencies gathered momentum in containing the cost base.

However, production cost was affected by increasing electricity rates.

The economy in the rest of the year is expected to improve. The company is well positioned to sustain and grow its profitability through focused expansion beyond this year, it said.




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