Vol. IV No. 52 - Saturday December 24 - December 30, 2005
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BUSINESS 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Consumers warned of looming higher electricity, gas prices

Tesco Lotus assisting Tsunami rebuilding effort

Bird flu prompts heavy investment in secure poultry farms

Consumers warned of looming higher electricity, gas prices

TNA

Thailand’s biggest energy conglomerate PTT has warned consumers they face higher electricity and natural gas prices next year, after the company’s decision to charge electricity producers market rates for its gas.

PTT President Prasert Bunsumpan said its current subsidy cost the company six billion baht. He warned that as natural gas prices climbed along with the price of oil, the cost of electricity would inevitably rise in 2006 when PTT pulled the plug on its supply of discount natural gas.

“I believe that electricity tariffs should more accurately reflect actual costs. In this respect, electricity tariffs are expected to rise during the first half of 2006 due to peak demand in summer,” he said.

The state power utility EGAT relies mainly on oil for its generating needs, but is attempting to use more natural gas to help lower production costs.

Mr. Prasert said the use of natural gas was likely to skyrocket in future, outpacing the use of oil and coal. The current consumption rate of three billion cubic feet per day is projected to rise to five billion per day in five years time and to eight billion over the next 15 years.

PTT was working on plans to build gas distribution pipelines and to secure
new natural gas supplies, he said.


Tesco Lotus assisting Tsunami rebuilding effort

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Tesco Lotus will hold a special commemorative collection to assist people seeking to rebuild their lives following the tsunami of last December.

Moneys raised from the collection, which will take place in all stores from Dec 16, 2005 until Jan 05, 2006, will be donated to the Princess Sirindhorn Fund and earmarked specifically for tsunami relief operations.

“We are nearly one year on from the tragic events of December 26 last year. Progress in rebuilding the communities impacted by the tsunami has been achieved, but many people are still suffering either commercially or personally from its effects,” said Tesco Lotus Chief Executive, Jeff Adams.

“Perhaps the most important way we can honor the memory of those lost, is to do our best to help others rebuild their lives. The Sirindhorn Fund has honored us by agreeing to receive the funds we collect, and ensure that all proceeds will be spent specifically for rebuilding projects in the South.”


Bird flu prompts heavy investment in secure poultry farms

Producers are investing billions of baht in enclosed chicken farms – thanks to the bird flu outbreak, according to the Board of Investment (BOI).

TNA

Traditional open-air poultry farms were being abandoned because birds from protected facilities were fetching higher export
prices, said Mrs. Vibulphan Juntarashote, BOI assistant secretary-general.

The BOI was promoting the enclosed farming system by extending privileges such as exemption of import duties for machinery and the waiving of corporate tax for eight years. Qualification for other BOI-related privileges would depend on the location of the farms.

Mrs. Vibulphan said to date, the BOI had received applications from 33 such projects involving a total investment of 3.1 billion baht. Applications covering another 20 enclosed farm projects, worth one billion baht, were expected to be lodged next year.

Applicants were individual poultry farmers and corporations who had contract
farming deals with conglomerates. The applicants were investing between 30-60 million baht in these ventures. Apart from the BOI, she said the Government Savings Bank and the SMEs Bank were also eager to offer support.

The enclosed farming system enables strict hygiene standards to be imposed at every step of production to conform with the import requirements of major markets.

Mr. Siripong Arunratana, deputy managing director of the country’s largest chicken producer CPF, said the company had received consistent orders for cooked chicken meat due for delivery in 2006, boding well for the export industry’s outlook next year. He estimated that Thailand should be able to export 400,000 tonnes of cooked chicken meat worth 50 billion baht next year, representing a nearly 40 per cent increase on this year’s 280,000 tonnes.



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