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PM's nod for new BoI directors

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has approved and signed the appointments of 13 new Board of Investment (BOI) directors as proposed to her by the BOI and the Ministry of Industry. The new BOI board members will hold their first meeting on May 1, to expedite the processing of nearly 400 pending projects with a combined value of Bt660 billion, Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk said.

BOI secretary-general Udom Wongviwatchai expects approvals for the pending projects to be completed within the next 3 to 4 months. The BOI's Bt800 billion to Bt900 billion total investment value target for this year will likely be achieved, Udom added.

Industry Minister Prasert said it was necessary that pending projects be processed and approved, as it would help improve the investment climate and contribute to the country's economy amid the ongoing political stalemate.

The new BOI board members will be represented by distinguished people from the private and state sectors (Thai Bankers Association, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Commerce/Finance/Industry ministries, National Economic and Social Development Board, Federation of Thai Industries). The prime minister will serve as chairman of the BOI board of directors, with the Industry Minister as the vice-chairman of the board of directors.

HALF A MILLION TONNES OF RICE SOLD

The Commerce Ministry sold 547,581 tonnes of rice through the Agriculture Future Exchange of Thailand (Afet) from January to April, earning about Bt7 billion for the country. The ministry is projected to sell an additional 162,344 tonnes of rice after opening the bidding for another 212,928 tonnes of rice through the futures market by the end of this month.

Caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Yanyong Phuangrach said the ministry will continue to sell more rice through Afet next month, which is expected to see combined sales worth more than Bt10 billion. He said that the end of the main crop harvest season and lower production of rice in the world market would encourage more trading of Thai rice.

BT40 BN SHORTFALL IN TAX COLLECTION

Given Thailand's economic slowdown amid the prolonged political unrest, tax collection faces a shortfall of Bt40 billion in the first six months of this fiscal year, while the finance minister remains concerned over the drop in the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra convened a meeting with the Revenue, Customs and Excise departments yesterday after finding tax collection in the first six months to be lower than the target by Bt40 billion. The tax revenue target for fiscal 2014 is Bt2.275 trillion.

Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said total tax revenue totalled Bt1.11 trillion for the first six months of fiscal 2014 beginning October 2013.

According to Kittiratt, there remained concerns that the prolonged political situation would have a continuous impact on the Thai economy. No new government from the election has affected the budget disbursement and foreign investors and Thai private sector's confidence for investment.

Ten more brokerages appointed financial

analysts for listed companies on the MAI

The Market for Alternative Investment on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with 10 more brokerages to produce financial statement analysis for listed companies.

The research would give insights for investors' decision-making with an expectation that there would be coverage of about 50 companies out of the 96 listed on the MAI.

Prapan Charoenprawatt, president of the MAI, which is under the Stock Exchange of Thailand, said only one-third of the companies were covered by brokerages last year, considered comparatively small.

The alternative bourse then made efforts to increase financial statement analyses for investors so that they can get access to company insights for making investment decisions by focusing on companies with attractive businesses and high growth potential.

The 10 brokerages are Aira Securities, Apple Wealth Securities, Bualuang Securities, Country Group Securities, Finansia Syrus Securities, KKTrade Securities, Maybank Kim Eng Securities (Thailand), Phillip Securities (Thailand), SCB Securities and UOB Kayhian Securities (Thailand).

They join KGI Securities (Thailand) in the cooperation.

The MAI will celebrate its 15th anniversary on June 21. It has raised capital worth Bt60.24 billion as of April 18. On April 21, the MAI Index closed at 408.98 points with market capitalisation of Bt183.61 billion.

Over the years, 15 MAI companies have grown up and moved to the main board.

Siam City Cement posts 14% rise in Q1 sales

Siam City Cement Plc's first-quarter sales rose 14 per cent on year to Bt8.65 billion.

Its consolidated net profit attributable to equity holders posted a significant increase of 56 per cent to Bt1.9 billion from Bt1.21 billion in the same quarter last year.

Earnings per share improved to Bt8.27 from Bt5.30.

The company reported 14-per-cent growth in sales as a result of improvement in its average selling price and higher export sales volume despite declines in domestic volume.

Key energy-saving projects continued to be a key factor stabilising production cost. Overall cement production cost per tonne was slightly lower than last year, resulting from lower fuel costs especially for coal. Prudent cost control has started to bear fruit, contributing to better profit.

The political tension and slowdown in government spending may impact the company's outlook this year. The company envisions tapering domestic volume for the rest of the year.

Despite all the challenges ahead, to protect its 2014 operating results, the company has initiated plans for cutting costs, securing long-term volume both domestic and export and maintaining price levels.

Amway announces record sales, expansion underway

Amway worldwide reported record sales of US$11.8 billion (Bt382 billion) last year, of which Bt16.8 billion was from Thailand.

To meet increasing demand, Amway is undertaking a $375 million manufacturing and R&D expansion globally.

This includes facilities being built in Washington, California and Michigan |in the United States, as well as a site in India and R&D facilities in China and South Korea.

Manufacturing sites in Vietnam and China are also planned as part of the expansion.


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