World's first acrylonitrile plant in Thailand
PTT, Asahi Kasei Chemicals and Marubeni on Monday jointly opened the world's first acrylonitrile plant in Thailand, to produce raw materials for plastic and acrylic-fibre manufacturing.
The project is carried out by PTT Asahi Chemical Co (PTTAC), a 48.5:48.5:3 joint venture of the three companies. The plant at Hemaraj Eastern Industrial Estate in Map Ta Phut, Rayong, will use propane from PTT's gas-separation plant to produce 200,000 tonnes of acrylonitrile (a raw material for plastic and acrylic fibre), 70,000 tonnes of methyl methacrylate (a raw material for polymethyl methacrylate), and 160,000 tonnes per year of ammonium sulphate (a raw material for fertiliser).
PTT will additionally supply acetone feedstock from its newly completed phenol plant and other utilities.
PTTAC financed the investment through a US$400 million (Bt12 billion) loan from Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi-UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Norinchukin Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, Sumitomo Trust and Banking, HSBC and ING Bank.
Theo de Rond, current head of Asia and the Pacific for Heineken, will represent the company on the boards of its businesses in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam as executive director for partnerships after reorganisation of Heineken's management committee.
The reorganisation was announced as the world's third-largest brewer took full control of Asia Pacific Breweries. De Rond now sits on the company's executive committee.
"Looking to the future, these significant changes will ensure that we have the people, structures and processes in place to realise our long-term growth objectives," CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in a statement.
Cebu Pacific increases flights to BKK
Cebu Pacific has announced an increase in flights to major domestic and international routes in preparation for the coming summer peak season in the Philippines, where the airline is based.
Cebu Pacific said it would have five flights a day between Manila and Singapore starting on March 23, and 12 weekly flights from Manila to Bangkok starting on April 1.
"These flight-frequency increases are in line with brand-new A320 aircraft deliveries in January and March, the first two of seven aircraft arriving this year," said Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution. "We look forward to flying our guests to their summer destinations with our brand-new aircraft, comprising one of the most modern fleets in the world."
Cebu Pacific flew 13.26 million passengers last year, an increase of 11 per cent from 11.93 million passengers in 2011. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN
Durian import moratorium does not smell sweet to Thai farmers
Senior officials at the Trade and Agriculture Ministries of Indonesia will meet to discuss protests caused by the government's recent decision to suspend imports of certain fruit and vegetables, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan says.
Officials will address the issue in partnership with Thai counterparts following protests from a Thai durian exporter who claimed have suffered significant losses as a result of the import ban.
"We will discuss this issue soon with both the Agriculture Ministry and the Thai authorities," he told The Jakarta Post.
Gita has hinted that Indonesia may allow renewed imports of fruit and vegetables as long as they met health and safety requirements.
At the end of last month, the Agriculture Ministry announced that it would not authorize importation of 13 kinds of vegetable and fruit products including potato, carrot, chili, banana, papaya and durian until the end of June.
This protectionist measure was taken specifically because Indonesia harvests produce on the list in the first half of the year. - The Jakarta Post/ANN
Two new flavours under Big join the fray
AJE Group Co Ltd, the producer and distributor of carbonate softdrinks under ’Big’ brand, has launched two new flavours - ginger and pineapple - to boost its market share from 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the total market value of Bt34.46 billion.
Marketing director for Asia Pacific Sorin Voinea said the new products were part of the company's efforts to boost its market share amid high competition during the hot season.
Of the total market value of Bt34.46 billion, carbonate softdrinks account for Bt23.16 billion with flavour drinks making up the rest of Bt11.23 billion.
Budget for wind-power plant
Wind Energy has set aside an investment budget of Bt35 billion to develop a wind-power plant with total capacity of 420 megawatts starting this year with completion due in 2017.
Up to 70 per cent of the total investment budget will be borrowed from commercial banks, and about Bt10 billion will be raised on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. The company started operations at its first two wind-power plants in Nakhon Ratchasima province this year. Each of the plants have production capacity of 207MW and required investment of Bt13.05 billion, said chief executive officer Nopporn Supapipop.
Publishers are optimistic that the market will enjoy at least 7-per-cent growth from Bt21.5 billion last year to Bt24.2 billion this year - a five-year high - mainly driven by national economic growth in line with the Bangkok World Book Capital promotion.
Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (Pubat) president Worapan Lokitsataporn said yesterday that the Bank of Thailand forecasts the country's economic growth for this year at 4.9 per cent. Pubat believes that given this macroeconomic trend, the book market will continue to see positive growth. Another factor is that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will kick off the Bangkok World Book Capital 2013 campaign, which runs from April 23 until April 22, 2014. This event is expected to encourage local people, particularly teenagers, to read more.
BBL supports solar
Bangkok Bank will facilitate a credit line of Bt5.4 billion to Siam Solar Energy 1 (SSE1), a subsidiary of Thai Solar Energy Co, which is owned by Pracha Maleenont, to build solar farms.
Thai Solar Energy is a very small power producer (VSPP) selling electricity to the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA). Its first solar thermal power plant is located in Huai Krachao, Kanchanaburi, with a total capacity of 5 megawatts.
TSE is the first solar farm producer that uses photovoltaic (PV) technology. It set up Siam Solar Energy 1 to operate an additional 10 solar farms. The construction of these farms requires more funding.
The loan agreement signing will be held this Friday.
The agreement follows BBL's granting of a credit line of Bt14 billion to CTH Group.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has encouraged the Association of Investment Management Companies (AIMC) to bring the performance-calculation practices of asset-management companies in line with international standards. The firms play a role in information disclosure to facilitate investors' investment decisions.
SEC secretary-general Vorapol Socatiyanurak said the commission encouraged the association to urge asset-management companies to comply with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) in addition to the current AIMC guidelines. The GIPS include ethical principles that provide investment firms with guidance on calculation and reporting their investment results to prospective clients.
The calculations and reports will be standardised and be in line with the international benchmark. Thus, they will be easily compared with those of mutual funds offered by foreign companies.
112 listed firms to present results, direction via Opportunity Day
A total of 112 listed companies with a combined market capitalisation of Bt4.8 trillion will present their financial performance and business direction to analysts and investors via Opportunity Day from Feb 18 to March 28, the Stock Exchange of Thailand said yesterday.
SET executive vice president Chanitr Charnchainarong said 91 of the 112 are listed companies in the SET, while the other 21 are listed in the Market for Alternative Investment. Eighteen of the companies are in the SET50, while nine are newly listed companies.
The SET this year will increase access to Opportunity Day through its iPad Oppday application. This is on top of its normal website access for local and international investors.
Last year, 175 listed companies made presentations to analysts and investors via Opportunity Day, up 13 per cent from the 2011 level. Some 261,948 investors from 118 countries watched Opportunity Day through the SET website.
Tris rates True's planned senior debentures as 'BBB-'
Tris Rating has assigned the rating of "BBB-" to the proposed issue of up to Bt7.8 billion in senior debentures by True Corp, while affirming the company's rating and the ratings of its current senior secured debentures at "BBB" and senior debentures at "BBB-".
The outlook remains "negative", said the rating firm.
True's credit ratings reflect its leading position as an integrated telecom company, but these strengths are offset by intense competition in core businesses, uncertainties in telecom regulations and ongoing litigation concerns, downside risks from the mobile segment's aggressive investments, and the company's high financial leverage, it said.
The negative outlook reflects True's weakened operating margins and heightened risks facing the mobile segment from the expiring 2G concession later this year.
True's ratings could be downgraded if the company's performance is not expected to turn around meaningfully by next year, or its business profile is negatively impacted by the 2G concession expiry.