Siam Cement plans US comeback

Siam Cement plans US comeback
Published: 05 January 2012

Thailand’s Siam Cement Group (SCG) will bolster its US presence on the back of positive signs of an economic recovery in that country.

The move will be aimed at meeting this year’s revenue growth target of 12% to THB400bn.

Kan Trakulhoon, the president and chief executive of Thailand’s top industrial conglomerate, said a team has been assigned to prepare the group’s re-entry into the US market after positive signs, including the recent sharp rebound in the US stock exchange and last month’s 7% growth in housing sales.

As recently as 2006, the US was one of SCG’s biggest export markets, accounting for 20% of shipments.
Even bulky products such as cement were sent to the US West Coast at competitive cost.

But demand dropped sharply in recent years, and the country now represents only 1% of shipments, Mr Kan said at yesterday’s inauguration of the SCG pavilion at the BoI Fair 2011.

He said the US economy has clearly bottomed out, with a steady recovery expected from now on.
’’We see an opportunity to boost petrochemical sales there, especially high value-added products that are competitive in terms of cost,’’ he said.

As well, SCG remains strong in the building materials market, with Cotto roofing products still the top brand at Home Depot stores, said Mr Kan.

However, he cautioned it will take up to four years for SCG to regain its 20% share in the US market, as unemployment remains high at 9%.

Exports make up 29% of SCG’s revenue, with Asean counties topping the list at a combined 40% of the figure.

The Middle East and African markets are growing, while Europe is stagnant at about 4%.

In 2012, SCG plans to increase its overall turnover by 11.1% to THB400bn. Despite the severe flooding that saw operations suspended at 12 of the group’s factories, SCG finished last year with 20% sales growth, according to Mr Kan.