Thailand’s corporate and state enterprises plan to invest more than Bt1 trillion this year, including projects eligible for tax incentives from the Board of Investment (BOI), according to a survey by The Nation.
This is more than 20 per cent higher than last year’s total investment value, suggesting confidence that the Thai economy will recover this year even though the global economy still faces risks, including the unpredictable effects of the new US administration’s trade policies. Of the state enterprises, PTT has the largest investment budget of Bt83.66 billion for both domestic and overseas projects – about Bt45.79 billion of the total will be invested in Thailand. This is part of its five year (201721) investment plan worth a total of Bt338.85 billion.
The plan emphasises the extension of investment in PTT’s infrastructure and oil businesses, including natural gas pipelines, service stations and facilities for imported liquefied natural gas.
PTT president and chief executive officer Tevin Vongvanich said that according to the five year plan, the energy giant would invest Bt102.28 billion next year, Bt60.49 billion in 2019, Bt34.33 billion in 2020 and Bt58.09 billion in 2021.
He said that throughout the period, PTT would invest in line with its three key strategies: the establishment of energy security, for which Bt186.52 billion has been earmarked; the creation of added value, at a cost of Bt150.67 billion; and environmental friendliness, for which Bt1.65 billion is being allocated.
Meanwhile, Siam Cement Group has set aside an investment budget of up to Bt70 billion this year for both its domestic and overseas operations, especially in Asean countries whose economies were growing strongly. “Our investment this year is higher than last year, which was only Bt30 billion, because our planned investment in the Vietnamese petrochemical industry was delayed until this year,” SCG president and CEO Roongrote Rangsiyopash said recently.
With its aggressive investment plan, the group expects revenue growth of 510 per cent this year amid signs that the economy is recovering, especially as the government kicks off major investments in infrastructure projects, he said.
Last year, in the group’s unaudited operating results, SCG reported sales revenue of Bt423.44 billion, down by 4 per cent from 2015, while net profit was Bt56.08 billion, an increase of 24 per cent. Central Group also plans to invest Bt45.5 billion this year on expanding its property portfolio, mainly with six shopping malls, five department stores, four hotels and three condominiums.
The group targets ramping up sales by 14.9 per cent to Bt382.2 billion this year after boosting sales 17.2 per cent to Bt332.7 billion and investing Bt39 billion last year, especially on its property projects.
Better economy predicted
About 70 per cent of Central Group’s capital expenditure this year will go to new projects, with the rest allocated to the renovation of existing malls, including CentralPlaza Rama 3, CentralWorld, the “Open House” area on the sixth floor of the Central Embassy complex and La Rinascente department store in Turin, Italy, CEO Tos Chirathivat said recently. He said the largest expansion ever undertaken by the company was in view of the better economic situation projected for this year as driven by the government’s campaigns launched to stimulate the economy, and its investments in many infrastructure projects, such as the Eastern Economic Corridor, especially the construction of at high speed rail route from Bangkok to Pattaya and Rayong. Such infrastructure projects will help whip up economic activities and attract industries to the area, he said.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s 45 state enterprises plan to invest Bt358.89 billion this year to help the economy grow by 34 per cent, Ekeniti Nitithanprapa, director general of the Finance Ministry’s State Enterprise Policy Office, said recently. Ekeniti said Sepo was confident that all 45 state enterprises would speed up their investments in line with the government policy to achieve growth in gross domestic product of between 3 and 4 per cent this year.
Meanwhile, BOI secretarygeneral Hirunya Suchinai said the value of applications for BOI privileges surged to Bt584.35 billion last year, beating the target of Bt550 billion and lending hope that this year will pass Bt600 billion.
Last year saw applications for 1,546 projects, of which 70 per cent were approved. Of those approved projects, 33 per cent have started investment procedures.
“All of the above may seem to suggest a strong financial year for Thailand, however the international markets are predicting a sharp drop in the value of the Thai Baht. Good news for holiday makers, etc. There is also the upcoming state funeral for the late King which has initially been diaried in for 25th December 2017 and the long awaited elections which should see the military Junta stand down.”