Housing loans top Money Expo deals
Transactions worth Bt13.77 billion were executed during the Third Money Expo Hat Yai, with mortgages and SME loans getting the most attention.
From March 15-17, the fair welcomed 80,000 visitors.
Housing loans were the most popular product, generating Bt9.02 billion due to the zero-per-cent interest rates with a long period.
Two state-owned banks - the Government Housing Bank and the Government Savings Bank - offered a zero rate for 10 months, the longest period at the fair.
Siam Commercial Bank, the largest housing lender among commercial banks, offered three months of zero-per-cent rates.
SME loans were the second most popular at the expo as each bank promoted attractive rates and conditions, leading to extensions of Bt1.83 billion in credit.
Khazanah eyes GE's stake in BAY
Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional is seeking to buy General Electric's US$1.8-billion stake in Bank of Ayudhya, Reuters reported on Friday, quoting sources familiar with the matter, pitting it against Japanese banking giant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
Khazanah's bid for GE's 25.3-per-cent stake came as a surprise, the sources said, declining to be identified as the information was not public.
The proposed acquisition would be the largest purchase of an overseas banking asset by Khazanah as it plays catch-up with Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings.
The Malaysian sovereign wealth fund manages a portfolio that is just a quarter of the $158 billion of assets held by its neighbouring rival.
55th HomePro outlet open in Chumphon
Home Products Centre has launched its 55th HomePro store in Chumphon at a cost of Bt430 million.
Occupying 27 rai of land, the latest home products centre covers four major provinces - Chumphon, Ranong, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Surat Thani.
With more than 7,600 square metres of space, the store can offer many home product categories, such as home improvements, home decorations, construction materials, audio-visual products and electric appliances, and a home service centre.
The centre provides services such as bathroom design, 3D kitchen design, and installation and maintenance.
A campaign will be held from March 22-April 17 offering a discount of up to 70 per cent to celebrate the opening of the HomePro store in the area.
Rebranding of mall
Ayutthaya Park Investment Group has spent more than Bt1 billion to redesign the look of its Ayutthaya Park Shopping Mall and rebrand it as Ayutthaya City Park.
The aim is to be the centre for lifestyle and leisure in the upper Central region with its 20-per-cent growth rate.
The big investment group in Ayutthaya grasped the chance when buying power is increasing from the expansion of the industrial estate, ASEAN Free Trade Area and the big growth rate of the city and turned the mall lively again, managing director Pranee Danchaiviroj said yesterday.
Strong auto output to continue: FTI
Thailand's auto production will remain robust in March through May, with output expected to rise by 21.41 per cent from the same period last year, according to the Federation of Thai Industries' Automotive Industry Club.
Exports of finished vehicles in February this year totalled 94,527 units, up 22.26 per cent year on year and 9.03 per cent quarter on quarter. The total export value was Bt41.608 billion, up 16.43 per cent year on year, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Exports during the first two months of this year totalled 181,224 units, up 38.44 per cent on year. The export value was Bt81.093 billion, up 33.83 per cent on year.
Total vehicle production in February was 229,204 units, up 36.35 per cent on year but down 2.89 per cent on quarter. Total production during the first two months was 465,229 units, up 50.74 per cent on year.
Domestic vehicle sales in February totalled 129,910 units, up 42.3 per cent on year and 3.25 per cent on quarter. Total sales during the first two months reached 255,727 units, up 51.9 per cent on year.
Meanwhile, the Industrial Confidence Index in February dropped to 95.5 from 97.3 in January, due to industry's concerns about rising production costs and the strengthening baht, according to an FTI survey of 1,076 business operators in 42 sectors.
Investors snap up border NPAs
Demand for non-performing assets (NPAs) in border trade provinces is soaring due to the imminent launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and upcoming transportation routes linking the group's members.
Throughout the past three years (2010-2012), Krungthai Bank sold NPAs worth Bt10 billion per year, up from Bt5 billion-Bt6 billion, said Suchart Dejittirut, senior vice president.
Investors and individuals are interested in buying NPAs to cash in on trade activities in border provinces and lock in the cost before the prices of NPAs and land rise due to new urban planning.
Currently, KTB has NPAs amounting to more than 5,000 items worth more than Bt23 billion.
New items do well on futures market
The Thailand Futures Exchange Plc (TFEX), under the Stock Exchange of Thailand group, announced that trading volume of its 20 new underlying stocks for single stock futures gained a warm welcome from investors amid bullish sentiment, with 2,767 contracts traded on the first day, representing 3.58 per cent of the overall 77,304 derivatives contracts traded.
TFEX managing director Kesara Manchusree said the first trading day of the new series of single stock futures got a good reception from investors and other participants, with trading volume of stock futures totalling 47,692 contracts from 77,304 contracts of the overall TFEX derivatives trading.
Stock futures have proven to be highly popular among investors following the stock market's upbeat sentiment, with average daily trading value rising to 36,479 contracts, up 312.23 per cent from a year earlier, mainly because they can provide higher returns while requiring a lower initial investment than buying stocks directly.
TCH looks to settlement banks
Thailand Clearing House Co is now accepting applications for two settlement banks to jointly expand the business and strengthen clearing and settling of securities in the capital market in order to boost choices for clearinghouse members.
Chanisa Chutipat, a senior vice president and head of the Stock Exchange of Thailand's market operation division, said yesterday that TCH was seeking two banks to be intermediaries for clearing securities between brokerage members and TCH - one each for the securities and derivatives markets - on top of the current four for securities clearing and two for derivatives clearing.
"We are accepting applications for commercial banks with financial strength and modern technology that are ready to serve clearinghouse members effectively with a full range of services.
"We hope the new settlement banks can meet the various demands of the current 37 securities clearing members and 41 derivatives members and can inspire the existing settlement banks to improve their effectiveness, quality of service and competitiveness. This underlines SET's commitment to match the right financial opportunities for investors and business," she said.
Fun on 3G network
Oregan Networks, the leading British IPTV software and systems specialist, and CAT Telecom Plc have successfully launched a "Over the Top" entertainment service to broadband subscribers on CAT's 3G and telephone networks.
Anothai Klampaiboon, an executive VP for CAT's e-Business, said on Monday that the pay-TV markets in Thailand and Apac are growing at an incredible pace. CAT plans to deliver over 100 channels of paid and free-to-view television within the domestic market, as well as internationally within Apac.
"CAT chose the IPTV client platform from Oregan for a simple reason: CAT could hit its timing targets without compromising on features or quality of service. Importantly, the remote upgrade feature of Oregan Media Browser will allow CAT to stay in tune with its users' evolving tastes and new requirements," she said.
The Internet-streaming set-top box powered by Oregan's middleware delivers information widgets, user-generated content and pay-TV channels via multicast and unicast modes, as well as enables users to stream personal content from home network devices.
British company Packetship was chosen to provide HLS adaptive bitrate video and AES content encryption servers, integrated by Oregan's Thailand-based representative company, Digital Media Interface.
BOT chief shrugs off baht worries
Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul yesterday reaffirmed that there was no need to worry about the baht - as it was appreciating in line with the country's improving economic fundamentals - so there was also no need for the Monetary Policy Committee to call a special meeting.
"(We) may need to wait and see (the situation) for awhile. It was only one day (that the baht spiked). Recently, there have been relatively good reports about the Thai economy, so they (investors) have been making investments," he said.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will lead a trade mission to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea from March 21-25.
Accompanying her will be some ministers and representatives of government agencies and companies.
Push for E20
The Bangchak Petroleum would like the government to further maintain the price gap between 95 gasohol and E20 gasohol to Bt5 per litre to encourage higher consumption of the latter, said company’s president Vichien Usanachote.
Retail price of 95 gasohol and E20 gasohol is Bt39.35 and Bt34.58 per litre respectively.
BTSC price soon
Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc expects to set the initial public offering price for its BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund on April 5 in the range of Bt10.40-Bt10.80 per unit.
Surapong Laoha-Unya, chief operating officer of BTSC, said yesterday that the company is running a roadshow here and abroad until April 4.
The fund will be launched from March 29-April 4, with proceeds expected to reach Bt60 billion-Bt62.5 billion.