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Siam Cement Group is hopeful to restart projects

World Cement,

The Thai press is reporting that the Siam Cement Group (SCG) is hopeful that its 11 suspended projects in the Map Ta Phut industrial estate should be able to start operations within five months. The country’s largest industrial conglomerate has completed its environmental and health impact assessments as required by law for 11 out of 15 halted projects after completing public scrutiny and reviews. The remaining four projects were delayed indefinitely.

SCG’s Chief Executive Kan Trakulhoon has said that there will be a public hearing followed by consideration from an independent panel before the plants are ready to operate. It is expected that the total process will take about five months. Projects that are ready to start will be able to operate and most of the projects were scheduled for complete construction in the middle of 2011.

The Group originally had 18 projects in Map Ta Phut but 15 were suspended by an Administrative Court ruling in September 2009 pending further reviews of their impact on the environment and health communities nearby.

Despite the disruptions, SCG has revised its sales growth forecast for this year to 20-25%, up from its earlier 10% projection. This is because of 30% growth in the first half of the year. Kan stated that the chemical sector, which represents 50% of total sales, is seeing rapid growth in demand while prices are declining.

Meanwhile, Siam Cement Company has posted a better than expected 6.7% rise in quarterly earnings due to higher sales. The company, which earns up to half its profit from petrochemicals and also makes paper, cement and building materials, reported a 6.86 billion baht profit in the first quarter. Analysts expected pressure from the fall in petrochemical spreads to continue in the third quarter but said Siam Cement would see a major turnaround in 2011, driven by new capacity that would boost sales volume, plus its focus on value-added products.

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