HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

SET plans to list breweries, sugar and education businesses

BOI measures to encourage auto assembly

Tops Supermarket awarded quality certification

Thailand’s Advanced Info Service PLC selects Covergy’s software

FDA says AHA/BHA based cosmetics should be used with sun-proof product

NPLs in banking sector drop to 11.49% in December

Thai firm to make SIG Sauer pistols

SET plans to list breweries, sugar and education businesses

The Stock Exchange of Thailand is considering encouraging operators of whisky, breweries, sugar, and businesses which run educational institutions to list on the stock market because they enjoy high potential for growth. Sophavadee Lertmanaschai, SET’s senior vice president, said the exchange was stepping up efforts to persuade companies with growth potential to list on SET and Market for Alternative Investment (MAI).

The exchange would allow companies whose businesses are previously “banned” such as whisky breweries, sugar, and “schools for profit” because these categories have much potential for expansion in the future. She said one of the breweries to which the exchange is closely watching is Beer Chang, which is a major producer and distributor of beer in the country.

Ms Sophavadee conceded the exchange had previously discouraged the listing of sugar businesses because product prices are volatile. Price volatility radically affects the benefits of sugarcane farmers and the government often intervenes in price setting.

However, she said, the SET has lifted a requirement that companies to be listed submit and explain about back-dated operating results. Instead the SET will to focus on information disclosure instead because that has an impact on investors’ decisions. She said that in the past the SET did negotiate with executives of some educational institutions for possible listing. But at that time most educational institutions were passive about business gains. This mentality has changed in the past few years and presently educational intuitions show much potential in growth, expansion and profits. (TNA)

BOI measures to encourage auto assembly

In order to further develop Thailand as Asia’s automotive production base, the Board of Investment (BOI) met on January 25, 2002 and approved measures to encourage assemblers to locate operations in Thailand. The objective of the measures adopted by the Board is to establish Thailand as the automotive hub for the region and the center for pick-up truck manufacturing in Southeast Asia.

Assemblers will now be granted import duty exemption on machinery, regardless of zone. Previously, in order to receive these benefits, assembly plants had to be located in Zone 3. There are two conditions that must be met in order to be eligible for these new measures. Applicants must submit comprehensive plans, combining both assembly plants and component manufacturing facilities, whether undertaken by one company or as the result of cooperation between companies. And, total initial investment costs for the entire project must be not less than 10 billion baht

The newly-announced measures provide for import duty exemption on machinery for those parts and component manufacturers that have applied in conjunction with an assembler. If the project is located in an industrial estate or promoted industrial park in Zone 1, the parts and component manufacturer will also receive a three-year corporate income tax holiday.

The Board also announced that they would arrange meetings with all concerned government agencies in order to determine what measures could be undertaken to facilitate the use of Thailand as an automotive export base, particularly for pickup trucks and parts and components.

In less than 10 years, the Thai automotive industry has evolved from an import substitution industry to a manufacturing industry that exports vehicles to many countries around the world. Auto exports have increased from 10,049 vehicles in 1993 to approximately 150,000 vehicles, valued at 60 billion baht, in 2000.

As a result of this liberalization, Thailand expects to increase exports of finished vehicles by 150,000 per year and increase export value to more than 80 billion baht per year.

Tops Supermarket awarded quality certification

The Fresh Food Distribution Center of Tops Supermarket recently received a Quality Certification under the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) from Total Quality Certification System International (Thailand). Tops is the first supermarket in Thailand to be awarded this certificate of quality in its Fresh Food Distribution center.

HAACP is the system which analyses hazards and critical control points of foods and food handling. The system is internationally recognized and accepted in the food industry world-wide. HACCP maintains the principle and procedures of international standards of safe handling, storage, transporting, and distribution of food products and sets the safety control system on each process relating to production. Each process requires the application and monitoring of a set of standards to insure safety and quality of products from producers to consumers.

The introduction of HACCP was based on an initiative put forward by Tops executives who say the need to maintain and control a set of high standards in the industry. In August 2002 when the system was introduced as part of Tops’ policy, staff at all levels was trained in every aspect of food safety, handling, transport and storage. A detail plan was put into place, which categorized foods and food products into groups depending on their application. This allowed Tops trained staff to identify and implement necessary measures at various stages of safety control points. The planning and testing of the methods involved went through a 2-month analysis period involving personnel from all levels of Tops Food Distribution Center.

Thailand’s Advanced Info Service PLC selects Covergy’s software

Convergys Corporation, a global leader in integrated billing and customer care services, recently announced that Advanced Info Service PLC (AIS), Thailand’s largest wireless operator and fastest growing service provider, has chosen its Geneva [TM] Active Revenue Management (ARM) software to bill all of AIS’s telecommunication products and services. Geneva will play a critical role in enabling AIS to achieve its ambitious target plan of growing its subscriber base.

AIS has embarked on a major program of network expansion and upgrading and will harness Geneva’s ability to handle large numbers of complex financial transactions and sophisticated pricing models in order to maintain its market lead. The contract with AIS is the largest Geneva license to date.

Convergys’ Geneva software will support the various pre-paid and post-paid services provided by AIS including GSM, GPRS, WAP, and content services. Geneva will replace Cubics, AIS’s legacy system, and will be integrated with the company’s existing software infrastructure including Siebel CRM, Comptel (provisioning and mediation), Isis Papyrus (bill formatting), and a data warehousing system. The project is scheduled to come into live operation in two stages; the first phase is targeted for completion by September 2002, and the second is targeted for completion in January 2003.

Convergys’ modular and scalable product line of end-to-end billing products, application modules and pre-integrated application suites enables communication providers to create fully integrated billing and customer care environments that are adaptable, reliable and cost-effective. Convergys products are based on its proven and innovative next-generation framework, a convergent component-based architecture that provides flexibility, investment protection and support for convergent communication services.

Considered the service provider with the most potential in Thailand’s mobile phone business, Advanced Info Service Plc. or AIS is the mobile phone operator in Cellular 900, GSM Advance, and Prepaid One-2-Call with more than 5 million registered users (as of January 2002). The key strategies in top performance are implemented by AIS consist of 4 major areas including network, technology, service, personnel, all of which play a crucial role in providing service

Convergys Corporation (NYSE: CVG), a member of the S&P 500 and the Forbes’ Platinum 400, is the global leader in integrated billing and customer care services provided through outsourcing or licensing. They serve top companies in telecommunications, Internet, cable and broadband services, technology, financial services, and other industries in more than 30 countries. They also provide integrated, outsourced, human resource services to leading companies across a broad range of industries.

Convergys (TM) employs more than 45,000 people in 47 customer contact centers and in our data centers and other offices in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Israel, Europe, and Asia. Convergys is on the net at, and its corporate headquarters are Cincinnati.

FDA says AHA/BHA based cosmetics should be used with sun-proof product

According to Deputy Secretary-General of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consumers using AHA/BHA-based cosmetics should avoid exposing to the sun, or should use the cosmetics with a sun-proof product to prevent any asthmatic illnesses.

Cosmetics with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) as their key ingredients were found increasingly popular among consumers. Studies had, however, found that AHAs and BHAs can cause some asthmatic illnesses, and irritate skin and eyes.

A recent study of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that people who use

AHA/BHA-based cosmetics will more easily become sunburned when they are exposed to the sun, as AHA/BHA will react more promptly to ultra violet ray in the sunshine. Similar results were also found from an earlier study of the local cosmetic industry.

To safely use AHA/BHA-based cosmetics consumers should avoid exposure to the sun when they are using these products. An alternative is to use the cosmetics with a sun-proof product, which has at least 15 SPF value. Consumers should also test the cosmetics in a small skin area before using them regularly. Anyone who suffers from asthma should be particularly cautious about using these products and should test them before they purchase them. If the use of a particular cosmetic brings sings of an asthma attack, people should stop using the product and seek advice from their physician.

M.D. Ravivan said that babies and children should be kept away from the AHA/BHA based cosmetics. AHA is found in, for instance, glycolic acid, lactic acid; while BHA is found in salicylic acid, which are widely used now as ingredients of many cosmetics including those manufactured and sold in Thailand (TNA)

NPLs in banking sector drop to 11.49% in December

Non-performing loans held by all commercial banks in December last year dropped to 441.94 billion baht or 11.49% of the outstanding loans from 512.17 billion or 13.25% in November, according to the Bank of Thailand.

The decline in the NPLs was attributed to the transfer of bad debts to Thai Asset Management Corporation and greater efforts by most banks to solve the problem. NPLs held by private-owned banks edged down to 370.47 billion baht or 14.43% of the outstanding loans from 438.44 billion or 16.75%. Those held by state-owned banks decreased to 71.46 billion baht or 5.59% from 83.73 billion or 6.55%.

NPLs held by Bangkok Bank declined to 106.1 billion baht (14.71%) from 112.59 billion (15.42%), Thai Farmers Bank to 62.72 billion (13.1%) from 63.9 billion (13.32), Bank of Ayudhya to 56.92 billion (16.58%) from 66.11 billion (19.52%), DBS Thai Danu to 4.46 billion (5.87%) from 4.91 billion (6.45%), Thai Military Bank to 33.53 billion (12.28%) from 56.54 billion (20.5%), and Siam Commercial Bank to 84.92 billion (18.5%) from 99.96 billion (21.46%).

NPLs held by UOB Rattanasin edged up 407 million baht or 0.85% of the outstanding loans from 358 million or 0.74%, Standard Chartered Nakornthon increased to 1.33 billion (2.11%) from 1.18 billion (2.03%), Bank of Asia decreased to 20.16 billion (18.29%) from 22.85 billion (20.27%), Krung Thai rose to 64.65 billion (8.19%) from 54.67 billion (7.13%), BankThai declined to 4.42 billion (3.19%) from 4.66 billion (3.25%), Siam City Bank dropped to 146 million or (0.7) from 4.89 billion or (2.34%), and Bangkok Metropolitan Bank decreased to 2.24 billion (1.59%) from 19.5 billion (12.2%). (TNA)

Thai firm to make SIG Sauer pistols

In March, the first Thai firm authorized to manufacture handguns, JK Defense Industry, will receive a production license from a Swiss-German company Sigarms-Sauer, maker of the popular SIG Sauer pistols. JK Defense Industry’s will make the weapons in Phrae, a northern province known for its illegal handgun industry. Industry analysts said the move would reduce reliance on imported guns. Thailand imported about Bt2 billion worth of firearms between 1995 and 1999.

Jirapan Kongpan, JK Defense Industry’s managing director, said the Thai-made pistols would match the standard of those produced by Sigarms-Sauer in Europe, Jirapan said. (TNA)

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