Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Siam Cement may revive Vietnam petrochemical plans

Siam Cement PCL SCC.BK, Thailand's largest industrial conglomerate, said on Monday it could move ahead with a plan to build a petrochemical complex in Vietnam that has been delayed by the global economic crisis.

The project required an investment of about $3-4 billion and sentiment in financial markets hads now improved, which could make it easier for the company to get financing, President Kan Trakulhoon told reporters.

"The situation has improved and we decided to hire an adviser. In the past, we had to postpone it because the financial market was closed. If we get some financing, we will move ahead," Kan said.

In March, Siam Cement said the project would be delayed for at least two years because the global financial crisis had made it difficult for the company and its partner, Petrovietnam, to finance the project.

Apart from the petrochemical complex in Vietnam, Siam Cement also delayed two cement projects in Indonesia and Cambodia.

Vietnamese state oil group Petrovietnam and Siam Cement began construction of the joint-venture complex last year in the southern province of Ba Rai Vung Tao.

The first part of the project had been expected to be completed in 2011 and the second in 2013.

At 0457 GMT, Siam Cement shares were up 1.82 percent at 195.50 baht, in line with the overall Thai stock market. ($1=34.00 Baht) (Reporting by Pisit Changplayngam; Writing by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Alan Raybould)
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Cambodia to cut troop numbers at temple site disputed by Thailand
M & C

Asia-Pacific News
Aug 24, 2009

Phnom Penh - Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced he will cut troop levels at the disputed area around Preah Vihear temple in northern Cambodia in response to a similar move by Thailand, local media reported.

Hun Sen said that Thailand has recently cut the number of its soldiers to just 30, the Phnom Penh Post newspaper reported Monday. He did not specify how many Cambodian soldiers would be withdrawn.

'We have a plan to change the deployment a little,' Hun Sen said. 'If anything happened, it wouldn't take long to send our troops up again, but I hope there won't be any fighting there.'

Both nations have had soldiers killed and wounded in clashes in the area since mid-2008, when the temple was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, the UN's cultural body.

The violence drove relations between the two ASEAN members to a low point and caused concern among other members of the regional bloc.

The Cambodian commander of the military division stationed at the temple site told the Phnom Penh Post that the reduction in numbers was 'a good signal,' and that the situation at the site 'is returning to normal.'

In an effort to show the situation is less fractious, Thai and Cambodian soldiers based at the 11th-century temple will take part Tuesday in a joint religious ceremony.

In a further sign of progress, the Cambodia Daily newspaper reported that Songkitti Jaggabatara, supreme commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, will meet Monday in Phnom Penh with the chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

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