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11 Senators petition ombudsman on 3G auction

BANGKOK, Oct 30 – Eleven senators have petitioned Thailand’s Administrative Court by means of the Office of the Ombudsman Monday seeking a court ruling on whether the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) telecom committee is authorised to endorse the recent 3G auction result.

Senator Paiboon Nititawan submitted the petition from the upper house of parliament to Chief Ombudsman Phanit Nitithanprapas, arguing that the telecoms committee has no authority to endorse or issue a licence, therefore their act could be deemed as violating the charter. The senator pointed out that the NBTC is empowered by the constitution to do so.

The chief ombudsman said the petition would be thoroughly and urgently vetted before deciding whether to forward it for the court's consideration.

Meanwhile, top executives of the three major mobile operators—Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC) and TrueMove—issued assurances to the public in a joint news conference that the bidding procedures were conducted in a transparent manner.

The three companies said that the alleged collusion was out of the question as they are listed companies in the stock market, and if that did occur, the corporate executives and the bidding panel could face five-year prison terms.

AIS Chief Executive Officer Wichian Mektrakarn representing the country's largest mobile phone operator urged all parties concerned not to abort the auction, saying Thailand's 3G system now lags far behind neighbours in the region and the country stands to lose the opportunity to develop its infrastructure.

Bank of Thailand lowers 2013 GDP growth projection downward to 4.6%

BANGKOK, Oct 26 – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) revises 2013 GDP growth projection downward to 4.6 per cent from 5 per cent due to risk factors from the global economy including a slowdown in Thailand's major trade partners.

In its quarterly economic forecast report released on Friday, Paiboon Kittisrikangwan, BoT Deputy Governor, said the Monetary Policy Committee maintained Thai economic growth forecast this year at 5.7 per cent, assessing that strong domestic demand will help offset the impact from the global economy to some degree.

However, 2013 GDP is projected to grow at a pace of about 4.6 percent, lower than assessed earlier at 5 per cent due to the weaker global economy and delayed disbursements under the government’s water management plan.

"The impact of global demand weakness on exports has become more evident. Manufacturing exports have been the hardest hit, especially for electronic products and electrical appliances where foreign orders started to decline. Additionally, agricultural exports are likely to remain contracted, partly due to rice exports, which suffered from high rice prices driven up by the rice mortgage scheme," the report said.

The central bank revises its 2013 export growth projection downward from 10.8 percent to nine percent. It is believed that exports will bounce back in the second half of 2013 as the global economic trend is likely to improve. The bank also trims 2012 export growth forecast to 4.4 per cent from 7 per cent.

However, overall strength in domestic demand will help sustain near-potential economic growth in the period ahead.

Inflationary pressure is viewed to soften from the previous assessment as it is expected the government will peg diesel and NGV prices.

Global oil price is projected to drop from US$110 to US$105 per barrel, therefore 2013 headline inflation is forecast at 2.8 percent while core inflation is projected at 1.7 per cent. (MCOT online news)

PTTEP Q3 profit more than double

BANGKOK, Oct 25 - Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) recorded profits during the third quarter of the year which were more than double the same period last year.

Mr Tevin Vongvanich, PTTEP President and Chief Executive Officer, said in the company's filing with the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) on Thursday that PTTEP posted a net profit of $558 million (equivalent to 17 billion baht) for the third quarter of the year, an increase of $308 million or 123 per cent compared to its net profit of $250 million (equivalent to 7 billion baht) posted in the previous quarter this year.

The third quarter operating result of PTTEP and its subsidiaries includes recurring net profit of $506 million and non-recurring net profit of $52 million.

In this quarter, the total revenue of PTTEP and its subsidiaries was $1.8 billion (equivalent to 57 billion baht), an increase of $153 million or 9 per cent compared to the revenue of $1.6 billion (equivalent to 52 billion baht) posted in the 2nd quarter of this year.

The increase was attributed to a higher average of sales volume of 3rd quarter to 292,228 barrel of oil equivalent per day (BOED) compared with 263,441 BOED in the previous quarter.

The increase of sales volume was the result of Greater Bongkot South’s production start up as required by the Gas Sales Agreement in June 2012. Sales volume of natural gas and condensate of Greater Bongkot North also increased resulting from no production shutdown in the third quarter of 2012. Moreover, Crude oil sales volume increased from Vietnam 16-1 project.

For the first nine months of this year, PTTEP and its subsidiaries’ totaled a net profit of 1.3 billion (equivalent to 43.5 billion baht), an increase of $418 million or 43 per cent compared with the same period of 2011’s net profit of $979 million or equivalent to 29.5 billion baht. The increase was the result of higher average petroleum sales price for the nine months of 2012, which rose to $64.30 per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) brought about by higher world market prices against that of the nine months of 2011 when the price was $53.68 per BOE.

For the first nine months of this year, the sales volume of petroleum is 269,776 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOED) against the same period last year which rested at 269,831 BOED.

As of September 30, PTTEP and subsidiaries had total assets of $17.2 billion, (532 billion baht) an increase of $3 billion higher than the total in hand at the end of last year at which point total assets were $14,131 million (447 million baht).

The company's CEO said the development of Montara field in Australia has commenced after The project won operating safety approval. Production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013. (MCOT online news)

Anti-graft agency to investigate telecoms regulatory body over 3G auction

BANGKOK, Oct 25 - Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Thursday resolved to accept complaints concerning alleged price collusion behind the Oct 16 3G licence auction for investigation.

The National Telecommunications Broadcasting Commission (NBTC) auctioned off nine 15-year licences for 41.6 billion baht, only 1.125 billion baht, or 2.78 percent, above the reserve price. The auction winners were the major three telecoms players: AIS, DTAC and TrueMove.

Klanarong Chantik, the NACC commissioner, told a news conference after the NACC meeting that the agency agreed to accept the complaints filed separately by Supa Piyajitti, deputy finance permanent secretary and the chair of the e-auction committee, Suriyasai Katasila, a coordinator of the Green Politics group, and Phetchburi Senator Sumol Sutawiriyawat, president of the Senate Committee on Education, Corruption Investigation and Good Governance.

Mr Klanarong said all the complainants cited similar grounds on two key issues of their complaints --the auction was allowed to proceed without fair bidding prices being offered and the committee's behaviours which acted in a hasty manner to endorse the auction results.

The graft-busting agency resolved that the complaints have sufficient grounds under the 1999 State Bidding Act, which allows the NACC to launch an investigation on both state officials and individuals. If any individual is found guilty, the case could be forwarded to law enforcement officials to take legal action, the NACC commissioner said.

The National Telecommunications Broadcasting Commission (NBTC) insisted the 3G bid was held lawfully and transparency. It earlier submitted documents about the auction to the NACC for consideration. Mr Klanarong said the anti-graft agency agreed to set up a panel to look into any irregularities.(MCOT online news)

Industry Ministry presses ahead with logistics costs reduction

BANGKOK, Oct 26 - Thailand's Industry Ministry is moving forward with reducing logistics costs of the industrial sector by 15 percent as targeted by the government.

Primary Industries and Mines Department's Logistics Bureau director Anong Paijitprapapon said the move came after an approval from a committee meeting on development and management of the country's logistics system and services chaired by Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittirat Na Ranong.

The 15 percent cost reduction was set from the current logistics costs of the country's industrial sector at more than Bt500 billion.

The cost reduction will apply to expenditures originating from inventory burden, which currently counts for 55 percent of overall logistics costs.

These costs are targeted to be lowered by 40 percent through a pilot project of clustered logistics entrepreneurs applying the same efficient software system to eliminate empty trucks and have them loaded with goods for all journeys, starting in Thailand's North and Northeast this year.

A similar project will start in other parts of the country next year. The entire plan to be applied for the whole country will be completed by 2016.

Ms Anong said Thailand's overall logistics costs is as high as Bt1.6 trillion for the industrial sector, trade & services and agricultural sectors, each having similar costs at over Bt500 billion. Out of all sectors, the industrial one has the highest amount of inventory stocks. (MCOT online news)

2012 October 30


Back to Main Page

11 Senators petition ombudsman on 3G auction

Bank of Thailand lowers 2013 GDP growth projection downward to 4.6%

PTTEP Q3 profit more than double

Anti-graft agency to investigate telecoms regulatory body over 3G auction

Industry Ministry presses ahead with logistics costs reduction




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