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SCG’s Q1 net soars past estimate

Posted by pakin On April - 28 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

SIAM CEMENT GROUP, the country’s leading industrial conglomerate, yesterday reported a 23-per-cent surge in first-quarter net profit that trounced the consensus estimate.

The continued robust petrochemical business contributed most to SCG’s results, but the improved performance of its packaging and cement units played a big part in the surprise upside.

Kasikorn Securities said SCG’s consolidated first-quarter net profit of Bt13.62 billion was 24 per cent higher than its projection, because of 5-per-cent growth of the country’s cement demand in the three-month period.

Most analysts had expected cement consumption to edge up by only 1-2 per cent in the first quarter.

Roongrote Rangsiyopash president and chief executive officer of SCG, said the government’s infrastructure investment projects had started to affect the country’s cement consumption, although the commercial and residential segments had continued to show flat and negative growth during the first quarter.

“Notably, we saw a lot of sales activities in late March, which I guess was due to [buyers] building up their inventories prior to the long [Songkran] holiday.

“We may have to wait for April and May’s sales figures,” said the chief of SCG, which controls about 40 per cent of the domestic cement market.

SCG expects local cement demand to grow by 3-5 per cent this year. The upper end of the forecast hinges on the government’s capability to push ahead its infrastructure projects.

SCG logged flat sales of Bt110 billion in the first quarter, chiefly due to the fall in petrochemical prices. Profit for the period, however, was up 19 per cent from the previous quarter.

Exports declined 8 per cent to Bt29.57 billion, accounting for 27 per cent of the group’s sales, due to the decline in chemical prices and the start-up of its cement plants in Cambodia and Indonesia, which reduced its shipments from Thailand.

SCG’s higher-than-expected profits came from its investment in research and development, which helped its products fatten profit margins during the upcycle.

Its packaging business has acquired some companies, and expanded into the “end-packaging” segment.

The profit contribution from associated companies in the petrochemical business was also better.

The upcycle in the petrochemical business will continue for two to three more years, he said.

The chemical business contributed two-thirds of SCG’s profit in the first three months, or Bt9.11 billion, up 84.5 per cent year-on-year, followed by the cement-business materials business at Bt3.29 billion (down 7.5 per cent) and the packaging business at Bt1.26 billion (up 42.9 per cent).

Most equity research houses – from Bualuang Securities and KGI to Trinity and PhillipCapital – had forecast SCG to report net profit of about Bt11 billion in the first quarter.

Roongrote said domestic cement prices slid by more than 1 per cent in the first quarter.

Competition in cement and building materials in the region has stiffened, partly due to the increased participation of Chinese players, which hurt producers’ profitability.

SCG’s cement plants in Cambodia have reached near full capacity, and 80 per cent in Indonesia.

The group expects its new cement projects in Myanmar and Laos to take three to six months to reach full capacity after their commencements next quarter and in middle of next year.

SCG was seeking partners to invest in the Vietnamese cement industry rather than building a greenfield plant there. The market in that country is facing a cement glut.

SCG’s stock closed up 0.82 per cent Bt492.

Panel to study evidence from 2008 protest

Posted by pakin On April - 28 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

A SUB-PANEL will be set up this week to consider the additional evidence made available on the crackdown on yellow-shirt protesters in 2008 and should complete its work by next month, Sansern Polijak, secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), said yesterday.

The panel will then submit its findings to the NACC to consider and decide whether it should withdraw the case filed at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

The defendants include former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, his then-deputy General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former national police chief Pol General Patcharawat Wongsuwan and former Bangkok police chief Pol Lt-General Suchart Muankaew. The defendants reportedly filed a petition asking the NACC to look into their additional evidence.

NACC chairman Pol General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit had said earlier that under law, the commission can look into the petition, but whether it decides to withdraw the case or not depends on the evidence.

He reiterated the point yesterday, saying that he had asked concerned officials to expedite the evidence review so the defendants can be treated fairly. The sub-panel will be chaired by the NACC secretary-general himself.

Yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters were violently removed from outside Parliament in October 2008, leading to the NACC filing malfeasance charges against the then-prime minister and his deputy, along with two police chiefs. Two people were killed and more than 300 injured, including police officers, during the crackdown.

One of the defendants, Patcharawat, is Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan’s brother and it is believed that the deputy PM backed his brother for the post of new NACC chairman, leading to speculation that nepotism could be at play.

Watcharapol said he acknowledged the speculation, and as the agency’s chairperson, he said he must proceed with the case with utmost care. However, he added that eventually the withdrawal of the case would depend on the court.

“Today, we are talking about using reason and law to lead our decision, not a sense of justice or injustice,” Watcharapol said. “According to law, we can consider and come up with reasons, and if our decision to withdraw the case is submitted to the court, it will be the court who finally decides whether the case should be withdrawn.

The point is we have not yet reached a conclusion.”

Watcharapol dismissed a former NACC member’s remark that no cases have ever been withdrawn from court, saying the agency would adhere to the rule of law and proceed with the case.

Meanwhile, a source at the agency said the nine NACC members have started discussing the case to gauge each other’s views. However, they will wait until the sub-panel wraps up its review before making a decision on the petition.

PHEU THAI Party politician Watana Muangsook yesterday was released on bail of Bt80,000 by the military court on condition that he does not get involved in political provocations and cannot leave the country without court permission.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday had sought the military court’s permission to extend Watana’s detention for his alleged violation of an NCPO order.

The politician denied the allegation, saying he had just expressed his opinion on a social network and had not violated any agreement with the NCPO, according to his lawyer Narinpong Jinapak.

Watana is accused of breaking an agreement with the NCPO that he would not carry out political activities, which he had signed for his previous release from detention.

The politician has been detained four times, including the most recent detention, which was justified because he had violated the NCPO Announcement Number 39/2557, according to an NCPO source.

The politician has been on a partial hunger strike since being detained on Monday, consuming only coconuts and juice.

Ratchanok world No 1

Posted by pakin On April - 18 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Badminton sensation sets sights on Olympic gold after hat-trick of titles in three successive weeks

Thai badminton sensation Ratchanok Intanon made the country proud yesterday when she unofficially claimed the world No 1 spot following a magnificent come-from-behind victory over title-holder Sun Yu.

She is the first Thai badminton player to become world number one. The world body governing the sport is due to announce world rankings on Thursday.It was the third consecutive victory for Ratchanok, affectionately called “Nong May” by fans, in the past three weeks of the World Superseries.

In the heart-pounding final showdown of the OUE Singapore Open yesterday, world No 2 and third seed Ratchanok achieved a dramatic 18-21 21-11 21-14 win over China’s Sun Yu. Ratchanok is the second Thai in history to win this top-flight competition. Boonsak Ponsana was the first Thai to clinch the men’s singles crown in the Singapore Open in 2007, repeating the feat in 2012.

Ratchanok’s win yesterday also shattered Chinese domination of the Singapore event. Wang Yihan had won the 2013 and 2014 tournaments, with Sun Yu taking the 2015 title.

Ratchanok, 21, from Yasothon, turned professional in 2007. At 18, she stunned London Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui to reign supreme in the 2013 World Championships following her resounding successes.

The young Thai star has set herself two new goals – to become the world’s No 1 and to win an historic gold medal in the Rio Olympic Games.

Her first goal has already become reality after she took the Singapore Open title yesterday, her fourth major title of the year to claim the unofficial Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s world No 1 ranking. With Ratchanok’s first goal accomplished, all eyes will now be on the Thai sensation to see if she can make another statement – by winning Thailand’s first Olympic badminton gold medal in Rio de Janeiro.

“I think I played up to my standard. After I went down in the first game, my coach Phattapol [Ngernsrisuk] suggested that I focus on long rallies so that Sun Yu would become exhausted and more prone to unforced mistakes,” she said yesterday.

“Winning the second game drastically boosted my morale. I played with more confidence in the decider. Although the Chinese stayed hot on my heels at the near end of the game, I was quite certain that I could make it. I felt no pressure at all and I played my game. That’s what counts for the win.

“I would like to thank all the Thai fans who supported me,” the confident young star said. She is the first singles badminton player to win three Superseries titles in three consecutive weeks.

In February, Ratchanok delighted home fans by winning the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters at the Nimibutr Gymnasium, while last month her remarkable run continued as she reigned supreme in the India Open World Superseries, the Malaysia Open World Superseries Premier and the Singapore World Superseries.

“Today, I just wanted to play a relaxed match. My ultimate target of being the world No 1 has already been accomplished. Now, I’m looking forward to my Olympic dreams. I want to win a gold medal for Thailand. With the full support of Thai people, I will never give up. I will try to keep myself fit physically and mentally, and now I have only three tournaments to compete in ahead of the Olympics. I hope to do my best in every tournament I take part in, particularly the Asian Championships, at which I will be back to defend my crown. Despite the win in Singapore, I think I still have many things to learn and to improve my form ahead of the Rio Games.

“It’s not the main reason that I won today but I badly needed my father to give me the green light to associate with my boyfriend Tawan [Pannawit Thongn-uam]. I just tried to do my best for the country. However, I’m happy that from now on, we have the green light to associate and can learn about each other,” Ratchanok said.

“After this, I would like to take a long rest. I feel exhausted after contesting continuous competitions. The first meal I want to have upon my return to Thailand is somtam [papaya salad] and I have to make it myself,” the joyful player said.

Shortly after Ratchanok’s exceptional win yesterday, Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkam-nerd said in an interview that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha had praised Ratchanok’s determined efforts to move to the top of the world rankings.

“The prime minister has expressed great praise and sincere appreciation for Ratchanok’s dazzling performances. He has asked Thai people from all walks of life to throw their full support behind the Thai shuttlers to fulfil their Olympic dreams in Rio de Janeiro. More importantly, he asked Thais to support the shuttlers with love and not to put pressure on them,” Sansern said. “He also praised all Thai shuttlers who have to work hard in an attempt to qualify for the Rio Games,” he added.

Achievements

– World Junior Championships – gold medal in 2009, 2010 and 2011

– 2013 World Championships – gold medal (as youngest player)

– 2013 India Open World Superseries – gold medal (as youngest player)

– 2015 Asian Championships – gold medal

– 2015 Indonesia Open – gold medal

– 2016 Thailand Masters – gold medal

– 2016 India Open World Superseries – gold medal

– 2016 Malaysia Open World Superseries – gold medal

– 2016 Singapore Open World Superseries – gold medal

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