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Economy October 02, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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SCB to unload Bt20-bn batch of housing loans

Siam Commercial Bank, the largest mortgage lender among commercial banks, will sell a Bt20-billion batch of housing loans to the Secondary Mortgage Corp to assist customers in getting special low rates.
The bank will transfer the first lot of Bt5 billion this year and the remaining Bt15 billion gradually next year, Pikun Srimahunt, first executive vice president of the bank, said yesterday.
Pornnipa Hachaiyaphum, president of the Secondary Mortgage Corp, said the cooperation was aimed at helping to develop the home loan market through the secondary market. 
More diverse mix for power generation urged 
With uncertainty hanging over international gas prices, Thailand needs to continue to adopt a broader range of power generation solutions, according to Black & Veatch.
With Japan switching off its last nuclear reactor last month and what commentators call a “global dash for gas”, Thailand, which boasts one of the highest electrification rates in Southeast Asia, must continue to plan now for a more diverse energy mix.
“Today, more than 60 per cent of the country’s capacity mix consists of natural gas-fired generation,” John Gustke, managing director of the energy business in Asia for the global leader in consulting, engineering and construction, said yesterday.
“The country has to prepare itself for a projected doubling of energy demand in 25 years and given global competition for gas, other alternatives must also be considered. 
“This means more renewable energy and with rising demand for lower electricity costs, probably more advanced and efficient coal-fired generation options.
“Thailand’s early investment in power infrastructure has helped its economy develop. It’s been the backbone of the country’s success,” he said. 
“The country, however, is facing new challenges and there are important lessons to be learned by Thailand as well as the other nations participating at Power-Gen Asia.”
B&V, which has operations in the crucial areas of energy, water and telecommunications, will participate in the event in Bangkok from today to Friday to share practices and successes in power generation. 
KBank will hold job fairs with 1,000 openings 
Kasikornbank will hold “A Day@KBank” job fairs with 1,000 positions available on October 12 in several provinces nationwide. 
Openings at the bank include branch service and sales officer, administration and operations officer and credit analyst. Candidates must be Thais with at least a bachelor’s degree in any field and be no more than 35 years old. Experienced applicants will be given special consideration. 
Registration by SMS closes next Monday. Documents including CVs and education credentials must be prepared for submission at the fair. 
AEC Securities to resume operation on October 4 
The Stock Exchange of Thailand said early this week that AEC Securities Plc will be ready to start operating again as a securities and futures brokerage on Friday. 
Kesara Manchusree, executive vice president of the SET, said AEC was qualified to operate a brokerage business after completely implementing system test, human resource and risk management. 
The SET, Thailand Futures Exchange and Thailand Clearing House had approved it to resume operations, including clearing, using its former broker member number of 38 and ticker symbol of AEC. 
For US dollar futures trade, AEC is waiting for a licence to trade currency futures from the Bank of Thailand. AEC was formerly known as United Securities Plc and had suspended operations in October 2011. The firm restructured its shareholdings and executives and changed its name to AEC.
BBL’s unsecured senior notes assigned “BBB+”
Fitch Ratings has assigned Bangkok Bank’s US$500 million five-year and US$500 million 10-year unsecured senior notes due September 2018 and September 2023 a final rating of “BBB+”. 
The notes are issued under BBL’s US$3 billion global medium-term note programme.
BBL’s rating reflects its steady asset quality, earnings and funding and its solid domestic franchise. The bank has maintained high capital and reserve coverage, which help to counterbalance the risks of its high corporate loan concentration. 
Positive rating action for BBL may be considered upon a sustained improvement in the domestic operating environment and further strengthening in the  bank’s overall financial profile, absent any increase in risk tolerance, or increase in exposure to the sovereign.
A downgrade may result from an increasing risk of significant deterioration in the bank’s asset quality that leads to an erosion of profitability or capital. This could include an increasing risk appetite through rising loan concentrations or excessive loan growth in the absence of higher profitability and capital.
Tris upgrades Italian-Thai ratings 
TRIS Rating this week has upgraded the company and current issue ratings of Italian-Thai Development Plc to “BBB-” from “BB+”.
The outlook has been revised to “stable” from “negative”. 
The rating actions reflect a decrease in ITD’s financial covenant risk following the completion of a Bt2 billion rights offering in August. ITD’s operating performance is also expected to continue to improve and strengthen the company’s balance sheet against potential leverage pressures from long-term investment projects.
Corro to manage MasterCard
MasterCard has appointed Antonio Corro as its manager for Thailand and Myanmar. 
Based in Bangkok, Corro will focus on driving the company’s expansion strategy for Thailand and Myanmar. He will also continue to lead MasterCard’s growth in Myanmar by leveraging opportunities in both the retail and tourism industries through Myanmar’s close links with Thailand.
Previously, Corro was manager of the Indochina region overseeing Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. 
Corro takes over from Gregg Hirano, who played a key role in expanding MasterCard’s presence in the Thai market. Corro has been with MasterCard since 2001.
Hong is new Bosch MD
Bosch has appointed Joseph Hong as managing director of Robert Bosch in Thailand, replacing Peter Vandlik.
Hong said yesterday that despite the challenging global economic climate, Bosch maintains an optimistic outlook for Thailand as a key growth market in Southeast Asia. 
Thailand is still the region’s largest automobile production hub and its government is planning to increase the country’s global competitiveness by bolstering infrastructure and connectivity. 
Bosch is bullish about growing alongside Thailand’s auto industry and supporting its national development through one-stop solutions via its diverse portfolio of products and services.
Hong said it would expand manufacturing capabilities and extend the company’s geographical reach across Thailand and across industries. Thailand will continue to be one of the top contributors for Bosch in Southeast Asia.
Hong began his career with Bosch in 1998 as national sales manager for the after-market business in the Philippines. He also worked in Germany and Singapore prior to returning home in 2010 to assume the role of managing director of Bosch in the Philippines.
Anlene product launch
Anlene is strengthening its leadership in the high-calcium powdered milk market by investing over Bt300 million to pioneer a concentrated milk segment with the launch of the “Anlene Concentrated Calcium” product line. 
The full range, including powdered and UHT formats, is considered to be the world’s first concentrated calcium milk and is the best formulation within Anlene’s product portfolio. 
Setting its sights on modern, health-conscious consumers, Anlene concentrated calcium milk delivers superior efficacy with four times higher calcium than regular milk, offering a single solution that meets daily calcium needs.
As part of a massive integrated campaign, Anlene will introduce this innovation through more than one million samplings nationwide, along with its sponsorship of “Thailand Dance Now”, a new dance reality TV programme, further solidifying its image of being a bone-nutrition expert. 
The new product is expected to increase Anlene’s sales by 20 per cent next year.
Ratchaprasong shindig
The Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association joins KBank Credit Card to throw the annual “Taste it all @ Ratchaprasong 2013” party until November 30. 
To strengthen the shopping district’s “The Heart of Bangkok” image, the festival with a “Festa Italiana” concept brings celebrity chefs from seven luxury hotels to offer a new experience for local and foreign connoisseurs. 
The association of merchants expects a boost of 20 per cent in restaurant clientele across Ratchaprasong during the festival.
Chai Srivikorn, president of the association, said yesterday that with its shopping malls, lifestyle destinations, religious shrines, spas and renowned restaurants, the Ratchaprasong one-stop square caters to tourists with diverse demands from around the world.
CIS process to be streamlined 
In the first half of next year, fund managers in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will be allowed to offer collective investment schemes (CIS) to retail investors in other countries under a streamlined authorisation process.
The Securities Commission of Malaysia, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday signed an agreement to establish the Asean CIS Framework and adopt a set of common standards to govern the cross-border offering of Asean CIS. 
The common standards are designed to ensure that the fund managers who tap the framework have the necessary expertise and experience, and schemes offered under the framework are managed based on industry best practices. 
First-car rebates go unclaimed
About 130,000 buyers under the first-car scheme have not yet exercised their right to claim an excise-tax rebate. 
Jumpol Rimsakorn, an adviser to the Excise Department, said yesterday that about 20,000 had cancelled their orders. 
The department will send a text message to the 130,000 individuals asking for confirmation, so that the department can calculate the exact cost of the programme.
About 500,000 have contacted the department for tax rebates worth Bt30 billion.
Nod for higher corn subsidy
The Cabinet yesterday approved an increase in the corn subsidy of Bt2.39 billion to Bt4.3 billion for the 2013-14 harvest year, benefiting 245,000 households.
The government plans to buy 1.875 million tonnes of corn at the price of Bt7-Bt9 per kilogram. Subsidies will also go to cooperatives, traders and exporters.
GH Bank customers grab deal
More than 30,000 customers of the Government Housing Bank flocked to the three-day “GH Bank’s 60 Years Homes and Happiness” festival, initiating transactions worth Bt15.90 billion. 
President Angkana Pilun-Owad said yesterday that customers had reserved the right to borrow Bt8.9 billion under the special home-loan programme offering a rate of  6 per cent for the first 10 months. 
The four-month special savings deposit attracted Bt7 billion, and Bt87 million worth of non-performing assets were sold. 
The bank also received approval from the Cabinet to seek Bt11 billion from local sources to strengthen its liquidity, as it targets extending loans of Bt137 billion next year. 
The biggest source of funds at GH Bank is deposits from mid-to-low-income earners. 
DPC set to close by end-October
Digital Phone Co is migrating all of its 74,000 subscribers to other networks and is expected to shut down at the end of this month, Takorn Tantasit, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said yesterday.
According to DPC’s parent, Advanced Info Service (AIS), around 20,000 DPC subscribers have already been shifted to AIS. 
The 1,800-megahertz concessions of DPC and TrueMove under CAT Telecom expired in the middle of last month; however, the NBTC has allowed both operators and CAT to continue to serve their customers for one more year to prevent service disruption.
SCBAM fund to focus on Japan 
SCB Asset Management will launch the Bt5-billion SCB Nikkei 225 Fund to meet the demand for investment in Japan.
President Jotika Savanananda said yesterday that the Japanese economy had shown signs of robust recovery thanks to the “Abenomics” of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The yen has weakened, which has helped exports to pick up. 
The Japanese government will also next year launch more policies to stimulate the economy, so it is a good time to buy Japanese stocks, she said. 
The fund will be offered from tomorrow to October 9, with the minimum investment set at Bt5,000.
This fund will invest in the Nomura Nikkei 225 Exchange Traded Fund managed by Nomura Asset Management Co.