Wednesday, January 09, 2008



PTTEP in Bangladesh PETROLEUM :PTT Exploration and Production Plc has joined with Total E&P Bangladesh in the Thai energy company's first petroleum exploration and production venture in South Asia.

PTTEP Bangladesh, a fully owned venture of PTTEP, will have a 30% interest in blocks 17 and 18 in Bangladesh operated by Total of France. The two blocks cover 13,724 square kilometres and are only 40 km away from the Sangu gas field and 80 km from the Shwe gas field in Burma.

Maroot Mrigadat, the PTTEP president, said the investment followed last year's expansion to new fields in Egypt, Bahrain, New Zealand, and Australia.

''These new partnerships will give us new connections which will in the end help us to further expand our business to new frontiers,'' he said.

Shares of PTTEP closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 152, down three baht, in trade worth 1.4 billion baht. ICBC awaits law change

BANKING :Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world's largest bank by market value, must wait for Thailand to change foreign ownership limits before acquiring stakes in ACL Bank Plc, China Business Journal reported yesterday.

The government is drafting new rules regulating foreign investment that include lifting the foreign ownership cap in Thai banks from 25% to 49%.

ICBC wants to buy a combined 49.9% of ACL, consisting of 19.3% from Bangkok Bank Plc and 30.6% from the Finance Ministry.

Bangkok Bank said in October that it was considering selling its stake in ACL to ICBC, but there has been no public announcement yet about the transaction. BLOOMBERG

E-transfers off 5.2%

FINANCE :Electronic fund transfers through the payments system from January to November 2007 fell 5.2% year-on-year to 89.971 million transactions, according to the Bank of Thailand.

The total value of e-transactions for the first 11 months of 2007 was 197.2 trillion baht, an increase of 23.5% from the same period the previous year.

Weak economic confidence led to declines in cheque usage and small payment transactions, although corporate fund transfers increased 3.3% year-on-year from the same period in 2006.

Total cheque usage was 74.67 million cheques in the first 11 months of 2007, a 3.8% decline from the same period the previous year. Cheque usage in value terms totalled 29.8 trillion baht, an 8.2% increase from the same period in 2006. PTTAR rated A+

CHEMICALS :Fitch Ratings (Thailand) has assigned an A+(tha) national long-term rating to the secured and amortising debentures of PTT Aromatics and Refining Plc. The outlook is stable.

The debentures were transferred from The Aromatics (Thailand) after the recent merger between ATC and Rayong Refinery Plc. Fitch has also upgraded the national long-term rating of ATC's secured and amortising debentures to A+(tha) from A-(tha).

The rating on PTTAR's secured debentures reflects its high operational link and support from PTT Plc, larger operating scale and more flexible and diversified operation after the amalgamation, which will, to a certain extent, help reduce overall earnings volatility.

PTTAR shares closed yesterday on the SET at 45.25 baht, down 1.25, in trade worth 1.22 billion baht. New home coverage

INSURANCE :NZI, a brand of Australia-based IAG Insurance (Thailand), has introduced a comprehensive home insurance product targeting foreigners and expats, who prefer to cover home, assets and personal collectibles in one policy.

In addition to covering the property and assets inside the home, the policy covers personal effects taken during trips outside of the home. It also covers damages to a third party caused by persons living at the insured home, as well as accidents to domestic staff and drivers.

''We realise the potential of the market involving properties for foreigners such as city condominiums, rented houses and homes in vacation places, which encourages insurance services to follow,'' said Surachai Rattayavisid, general manager for underwriting of NZI. 28-day notes yield 3.12%

DEBT MARKET :The Bank of Thailand yesterday auctioned four billion baht worth of 28-day notes for an average accepted yield of 3.1203%. Accepted bid yields ranged from 3.11% to 3.125%, with the bid coverage ratio 3.19 times.

The central bank also auctioned five billion baht in 91-day notes for an average yield of 3.15101%. Accepted bid yields ranged from 3.14% to 3.16%, with bid coverage of 2.99 times.

Also sold were five billion baht in 182-day notes for an average yield of 3.28927%. Accepted bid yields ranged from 3.28% to 3.29%, with bid coverage of 5.48 times.

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