Maize import approved
The Commerce Ministry has allowed the Public Warehouse Organisation to import 54,700 tonnes of maize from March to July under a World Trade Organisation quota with the aim to increase domestic supply and stabilise the price of feed meal here.
Pranee Siriphand, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said yesterday that maize imports under the quota faced a 20-per-cent duty, while imports outside the quota would be taxed at 73 per cent and levied an additional fee of Bt180 a tonne.
Maize will be bought from Laos to help that country under the Asean Free Trade Agreement, he said.
Alstom in substation project
Alstom Grid has been awarded a contract by Sri U Thong Co for services worth more than ¤4 million (Bt161 billion) to install seven gas-insulated substation (GIS) bays for the Vibhavadi extension project in southern Thailand.
The end customer is the Metropolitan Electricity Authority - the state enterprise responsible for energy distribution in the Bangkok area.
Alstom's scope in the project includes the supply and supervision of the installation of five 230-kilovolt, one 115kV and one 69kV GIS bays. Due to be commissioned in April 2014, the bays will be installed by Alstom's services team based in Thailand. The project will connect the existing substation to two 300-megavolt-ampere transformers installed at Vibhavadi substation.
The particularity of this project concerns the varying ages of the different GIS equipment. Sri U Thong selected Alstom Grid for its significant expertise in matching new bays to complement the existing ageing equipment.
The aim of the extension is to meet the increasingly high electricity demand in the Vibhavadi area and surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region, which has a population of nearly 15 million. This demand is fuelled by economic growth in the country over the past 30 years.
Big C to buy more fruit
Big C Supercenter is joining with the Commerce Ministry to promote local fresh produce by boosting purchase volume by 35 per cent this year.
The project kicks off with the Thai Orange Fair to capture the Chinese New Year shopping spree from now through February 28, Kudatara Nagaviroj, director of corporate affairs, said yesterday.
Big C expects Thai orange sales to rise by 50 per cent this year.
The company and the ministry will work closely to monitor and absorb excess supplies of fruits and vegetables to sell in Big C stores at reasonable prices to promote confidence and stable income for farmers, as well as to bring high-quality produce to consumers daily.
This year, Big C aims to purchase 70,200 tonnes of fruits and vegetables worth Bt3.3 billion.
TOT board approves union's request for 7.5 % increase in salary
TOT's board on Monday approved the 7.5-per-cent salary increase requested by its labour union.
The state enterprise netted Bt9.56 billion on revenue of Bt78.054 billion last year, up by Bt621 million and Bt3.2 billion from a year earlier.
Court queries NBTC on AIS fines
The Central Administrative Court yesterday summoned a representative from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to testify after Advanced Info Service on January 11 petitioned to stay the NBTC's fine for failing to comply with rules prohibiting setting a validity period for prepaid mobile-phone refill cards.
The watchdog started fining the three top cellular operators on May 30 last year. They recently informed the NBTC that they had complied with the regulations.
The fines on AIS, calculated on a daily basis from May 30 to January 24, total Bt24 million.
Kirimaya plans Khao Yai resort
Kirimaya Co plans to launch a Bt1.8-billion luxury resort called Kirimaya Residence Atta the Condo after seeing strong demand for residential projects in Nakhon Ratchasima's Khao Yai area.
The project will offer only 253 units at a starting price of Bt5.8 million per unit, chief adviser Kitti Thanakijaumnueu said yesterday.
Energy Earth seeks dual listing
Coal miner Energy Earth has passed the Frankfurt Stock Exchange's preliminary qualification for a dual listing.
In the company's statement, the board of directors approved the dual listing on Monday and the company is yet to win the final approval from the German exchange. It did not say how this dual listing would benefit the company.
Total Access Communication is the only Thai company with a dual listing, in the Singapore and Thai bourses.
Auto parts: $15 bn exports
The Thai Auto Parts Manufacturers Association has forecast an export value for the sector this year of US$15 billion (Bt448 billion), up from $11 billion last year and higher than the forecast of $12 billion by the Commerce Ministry, thanks to expanding demand in Asia.
The key markets for auto parts are Indonesia, followed by Japan, Malaysia, Brazil and India, association president Achana Limpaitoon said yesterday.
However, she warned that if the baht rose further, it could affect exports.
The auto-production sector currently employs 500,000 people, but its growth means it requires an additional 100,000 workers.
More land for Orange Line
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand is studying a plan to expropriate more plots of land at a cost of Bt1 billion for the construction of the Orange Line.
The 35.4-kilometre line, which will run from Taling Chan to Min Buri, will cost Bt170 billion. Additional plots are needed to provide more convenience to passengers, including the provision of car parking lots.
A decision on land expropriation is expected to be made in the next three months.
Japanese investment down in H2
The Japanese Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Japan External Trade Organisation, has released the results of a survey of Japanese firms investing in Thailand in the second half of last year.
It found that investment by Japanese companies in factories and machinery had dropped by 50 per cent year on year during the period.
According to the survey, which was conducted between November 21 and December 20 among 381 firms, about 56 per cent of the respondents anticipated their business situation to be better in the first six months of this year, while about 13 per cent expected it to be worse.
About 76 per cent of the respondents expected their sales to increase this year, while some 19 per cent expected sales to expand by more than 20 per cent.
About 81 per cent of the respondents said their business had made a profit last year.
Some 48 per cent expect to increase their exports this year, while another 40 per cent said their overseas sales would be stable and 12 per cent said their exports would fall.
About 50 per cent of the respondents said Indonesia was their top potential overseas market, followed by Vietnam (34 per cent), Myanmar (33 per cent) and India (31 per cent).