Pattaya Mail turns 12

Vol. XIII No. 38
Friday September 23 - September 29, 2005

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Thailand’s public debt rises Bt 23 billion to Bt 3.2 trillion

Finance Minister sets goal to double Thai stock exchange capital

Futures fair to be held Sept 24

Agriculture Ministry to spend Bt 32bn in drought action

Bruce Hoppe promoted to Vice President of Emerson Climate Technologies, Asia Operations

Plastic cash advances lead July credit card debt increase of Bt 1 billion

Chubb acquires Direct Telecom as Thai security market surges 

Hot desking is the coming trend for Grade A office space

UK Embassy introduces new director to Pattaya

Thailand’s public debt rises Bt 23 billion to Bt 3.2 trillion

Thailand’s public debt totaled Bt 3.23 trillion (US$80.75 billion) at the end of July, accounting for over 45 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), as debt in the public sector rose by over Bt 23 billion (US$ 0.575 billion), according to figures released by the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.

Pannee Sathavarodom, director-general of the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, said that the Thai government has refinanced its external debt by refinancing US$685 million in Euro commercial paper. The action has the effect of reducing the principal by Bt.697 million and Bt.4.7 billion in interest payments.

The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) has also successfully lightened its debt load by repaying Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) ahead of schedule, thereby reducing Bt.593 million in principal and Bt.471 million in interest.

Outstanding public debt at the end of July stood at Bt.3.2 trillion, amounting to 45 percent of the country’s GDP, up Bt.23 billion from the month of June. Of this, the government has borrowed Bt.1.8 trillion directly.

Debts of non-financial state enterprises totaled 997 billion baht, while the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDA) remains nearly 431 billion baht in red. (TNA)

Finance Minister sets goal to double Thai stock exchange capital

Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya has set a target to double market capitalization of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) from Bt.5 trillion to Bt.10 trillion in five years.

Following his visit to the SET recently, Dr Thanong said he had assigned the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations to coordinate drafting a capital market development master plan with the main aim to double the market capitalization of the SET by giving more incentives to listed companies.

Key components of the capital market development master plan include incentives for listed companies to expand their businesses. These measures will replace the ‘temporary’ discount in corporate tax for listed companies that the government intends not to renew once it lapses at the end of this year.

Companies listed in Thailand must receive incentives on par with those offered on other regional stock markets in order for the Thai stock market to grow, said the finance minister. Citing statistics from the Revenue Department, Dr. Thanong said over 400 listed companies account for half of the total corporate tax paid in the entire country. “This means the Thai capital market is the government’s largest source of revenue,” Dr. Thanong said. “The more profitable the listed companies are, the more tax revenue goes to the Thai government.”

Other possible measures to be incorporated into the master plan include allowing foreign investors to use the US dollar as a trading currency for stock listed on the international board of the Thai bourse, and additional incentives to promote long-term savings such as the Retirement Mutual Fund. Promoting good corporate governance and development of the debt market, including the Asian Bond, also forms part of the plan, he said.

Dr. Kongkiat Opaswongkarn, president of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations, said the target of doubling SET market cap within five years is attainable provided that net profit of listed companies grows at 10 percent per year, and that more state enterprises and multinationals are allowed to list. (TNA)

Futures fair to be held Sept 24

In a bid to boost investment in Thailand’s futures market, the Agricultural Futures Exchange of Thailand (AFET) and several other agencies are cooperating in organizing the “Futures Fair 2005” at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center on September 24.

AFET Manager Napaporn Kurupsuthachai said her company had joined with several agencies, including the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) and the Thai Futures Exchange (TFEX), to hold a fair aimed at providing knowledge on futures market to prospective investors and gain recognition for AFET among local and foreign investors.

She said AFET also wants to become the center for locals who are involved in the agricultural sector including exporters, goods processing manufacturers and farmers. AFET can help people to use the futures market mechanism to eliminate business risks, and map out production and marketing plans in an efficient way.

Participants expected to join the fair are those involved in natural rubber, tapioca and rice, SET investors, members of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), concerned government officials and financial institutions. (TNA)

Agriculture Ministry to spend Bt 32bn in drought action

The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry will present the cabinet with a two-stage drought reduction plan that offers both immediate and short-term solutions. The plan has a proposed budget of Bt 32 billion (US$80 million).

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Khun Ying Sudarat Keyuraphan said that while some Thai dams could store water during the current rainy season, the water supply in general is still insufficient, forcing her ministry to draft both urgent and short-term measures to relieve the current critical shortages of water. Temporary dikes would be constructed in certain areas to store water instead of allowing it to flow into rivers or seas. This project alone requires a two billion baht budget, she said.

For the short-term project, another Bt.30 billion is needed and the project could start this year to store rainwater during the rainy season next year. The project calls for building rubber-made weirs as well as digging large ponds, mostly in the northeastern and eastern regions, she said. The government also plans to expropriate certain land areas that are frequently flooded and will ask long-term residents to move to higher ground so that the government can utilize water to its maximum benefit. Water diversion from Thailand’s neighboring countries may happen within the next five years which could assist the agricultural sector, but the industrial sector will have to pay more for water consumption, she added.

Deputy Prime Minister Pinij Jarusombat said recent rainfall has alleviated Thailand’s water crisis in the eastern region but the project to increase the much needed water storage capacity in reservoirs needs a go-ahead to solve the ongoing water problem in the region.

Pinij said that the water crisis in the east improved due to heavy rains during the past week. The volume of water in reservoirs has been significantly increased but water shortages will remain a problem because of the high demand for water in the industrial and tourism sectors.

Excluding the water used in the agricultural sector, the deputy prime minister said, the figure showed that about 70 million cubic meters of water is used in Chonburi each year and 120 million cubic meters in Rayong.

It is expected that the demand for water in Pattaya will increase by 20 percent next year. Pinij said that he ordered the water authorities concerned to provide enough water to support the tourism, business and industrial sectors, but rejected claims that some entrepreneurs were forced to stop production due to a lack of sufficient water.

Pinij also ordered demolition of unauthorized barriers built by some resorts and golf courses to collect water from public waterways for their own benefit. (TNA)

Bruce Hoppe promoted to Vice President of Emerson Climate Technologies, Asia Operations

Bill Bosway President of Emerson Climate Technologies, Asia Operations announced the promotion of Bruce Hoppe to Vice President of Emerson Climate Technologies, Asia Operations.

Bruce Hoppe VP Emerson Climate Technologies, Asia Operations

In his message Mr. Bosway said, “I am pleased to announce the promotion of Bruce Hoppe to Vice President of Asia Operations, reporting to Steve Stewart. Bruce will have responsibility for our Thailand and Suzhou scroll operations, Shenyang, and support for KCL, our joint venture in India.

Under Bruce’s leadership as Managing Director, our Thailand operation has achieved outstanding results in safety, quality, cost, and inventory management. Thailand recently received the Emerson Safety Award and is approaching 9 million hours or 7 years without a lost time accident. Customer line returns are less than 50 PPM and inventory turnover has improved 18% per year since FY99.

Bruce’s team has also experienced tremendous success in executing reverse auctions and implementing cost reductions.

Emerson Thailand achieved a new milestone for safety on Friday, 26 August 2005, surpassing 9 Million hours worked without a single working day lost. This record set a benchmark for safety for all compressors/motors Plant worldwide!! Injury Rate has been reduced to 1.06 %. In the great achievement, Thailand Plant’s next goal is to reach 10 million hours worked without a lost time accident and they are confident that they can achieve this.

Bruce joined Copeland in 2001 as managing director of our Thailand scroll and motor operations.

Prior to joining Copeland, Bruce was President of Numatics Actuator, a division of Numatics, Inc. for 8 years based in Franklin, Tennessee. Bruce also has 23 years of experience with General Motors in both Engineering and Operations. Bruce has a degree in Mechanical Engineering (BME) from General Motors lnstitute, and earned his MBA from Michigan State University.

Please join me in congratulating Bruce on his promotion and new assignment.”

Plastic cash advances lead July credit card debt increase of Bt 1 billion

Cash advances by credit card users rose sharply in July, accounting for 75 percent of credit card use during the month.

Growth in the number of new credit cards issued last month slowed for the first time this year. Nevertheless, credit card debt rose by Bt 1 billion (US$25 million) in July, according to figures released Tuesday by the Bank of Thailand (BOT).

At the end of July, there were 9.3 million credit cards in the system, with nearly 180,000 new cards issued for the month, a sharp fall in the growth rate compared to last year.

Among the cards in use, 3.5 million were issued by Thai commercial banks, over 1 million by foreign banks and some 4.8 million by non-bank institutions.

Spending by all these credit cards totaled Bt 51.3 billion in July. Of this, Bt.36 billion was spent domestically - up Bt.406 million from June.

Plastic cards being used overseas amount to Bt.2.1 billion, a Bt.52 million increase from June.

Cash advances topped Bt.12 billion, rising by Bt.767 million from June, suggesting that more consumers are dipping into their plastic reserves for daily expenses. (TNA)

Chubb acquires Direct Telecom as Thai security market surges 

Chubb Thailand is buying one of Thailand’s leading techno-based protection firms, Direct Telecom.

A high-profile employer in Thailand with over 5,000 staff, mainly in the areas of manned guarding and aviation security, Chubb is a worldwide company with operations in 40 countries.

Chubb Thailand, Managing Director (left), Mr. David Viccars, finalizes the deal with Khun Somphop Poshakrishna, Managing Director of Direct Telecom.

Announcing the move, Chubb Thailand managing director David Viccars said the acquisition pointed towards a trend towards “a more sophisticated security skills specialisation”.

He said that Chubb had long recognised Thailand as being an expanding market with specific needs and had wanted to pinpoint a high quality Thai company to expand its design, engineering and electronic security capabilities.

Viccars said that Chubb Thailand will now be a one-stop shop offering a full range of security and safety services. This will include physical security products such as locks and safes, safety items comprising panic alarms, fire extinguishers, fire detection and prevention systems, intruder alarms and perimeter protection, monitoring devices like CCTV and remote monitoring of alarms and cameras, access control systems, and manned guarding and aviation security. 

“Now we can deliver a range of services that takes advantage of Direct Telecom’s in-depth knowledge of how Thais size up their security needs, and marry this expertise with Chubb’s international way of working, especially our on going  dedication to research and development,” he said.

“The great advantage is that we are smoothly merging two different work cultures, with the common goal of producing a better home-driven product and service.”  

 Direct Telecom managing director Somphop Poshakrishana will lead the team. Somphop said that the company, which had been established in 1994, is particularly strong in electronic security services for hospitals, offices, hotels, and convenience stores. The 24-hour stores are currently an outstanding growth area for the protection business, he said.

The private security services industry in Thailand is expected to grow by at least 30 percent in 2005 compared with a 15 percent increase over the last five years. The overall value of the industry is projected to reach about 20 billion baht this year, also a 30 percent rise from 2004, according to figures released by Chubb Thailand.

Hot desking is the coming trend for Grade A office space

Hot desking is going to become a buzz phrase in Thailand soon, with office rentals rising and filing and storage trends undergoing fundamental change.

The prediction comes from Peter Johansson, managing director of Bangkok-based Tellus Systems Ltd, a specialist in office and warehouse storage.

Lars Peter Johansson - Managing Director of Tellus

Johansson, who is just back from visiting Tellus suppliers in the United States, where hot desking is being absorbed into corporate culture, says it is simply the art of planning more space for a minimum number of employees on the premises at one time. It is an alternative to catering for all staff who may, or may not be assigned to desk duties at any given period. 

A-grade offices in Thailand must now look at alternative solutions to simply expanding space, especially now that local rising costs dictate that firms maximize the full working space area available.

“This is why the office scene here must seriously consider hot desking.”

The concept, which allows employees to reserve space on an as-needed basis, has been operating for a decade in America, but should impact Thailand very soon, particularly with a predicted commercial slow-down on the horizon, Johannson said.

“Companies will be carefully accounting for all their baht allocated to the work-place.”

The system works by allocating workspace via a booking system, and the worker’s files are within easy reach from a central storage system. Documents can be retrieved and returned with a minimum of fuss.

“This is really user-friendly and helps varying customer needs,” said Johansson “Staff can immediately use our streamlined Spacemaker range - a mobile, power-saving unit which maximizes floor space use, providing the widest range of convenience, size/ color alternatives to fit the most difficult environment... this is what hot desking is all about, re-investing the real estate to benefit both the employer and the employees”

A 20-year veteran of Asia, the Swedish-born Mr. Johansson established Tellus in Thailand in 2001, following extensive stints with multi-national storage and handling companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

For more information call 02-643-8044 to 8 or e-mail: [email protected]

UK Embassy introduces new director to Pattaya

After coming to Thailand for vacations for the past eight years, one British government officer has finally managed to secure a position here, after spending time in China. Steve Buckley, the Director of Trade and Investment for Thailand came down to Pattaya to meet with local businessmen and community leaders, to stamp a more personal touch with his Embassy’s dealings in this region.

Steve Buckley flanked by Thierry Ehrhardt (left) and Dr. Iain Corness (right)

He was welcomed by Graham Macdonald, the Eastern Seaboard representative of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand, and Barrie Kenyon, the Consular representative for the British nationals in this area. Others who were pleased to make the new director’s acquaintance included Chris Langford, Chief Executive Officer of the Laem Chabang International Deep Seaport Terminal; Andrew Harrison, Head of School of the St. Andrews International School at Rayong; Thierry Ehrhardt from GKN Driveline, Dr. Iain Corness, the International Consultant for the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital and Pratheep Malhotra MD of the Pattaya Mail.

In an interview on Pattaya Mail on TV, Steve Buckley indicated that it was his intention to promote more investment in Thailand from UK enterprises, citing the expansion that has continued, giving British Triumph motorcycles as an example, who are now building their second manufacturing plant in this area.

Distinguished gentlemen (l-r) Chris Langford, Barrie Kenyon, Andrew Harrison and Graham Macdonald.

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