Siam City Cement Plc (SCCC) is proceeding with plans for a cement plant in Cambodia, brushing aside concerns about the border clashes.
Managing director Philippe Arto said the Cambodian plant with annual capacity of one million tonnes was highly likely to be operational within five years. Thailand’s second-largest cement maker has joined with a Cambodian partner to study the market potential and select a site, with the final decision expected within six months.
SCCC is the leader in the Cambodian cement market, with a 40% share of the 800,000t exported there from Thailand each year.
However, most shipments are made by sea and other land crossings besides Si Sa Ket province, where the clashes have been occurring.
"We are looking beyond the current short-term issues [between Thailand and Cambodia]. The two countries are neighbours and have common economic interests," said Mr Arto.
SCCC is also studying building a plant in Myanmar, another of its key neighbouring markets.
Investment in Burma could be in the form of acquiring an existing plant or partnering with local companies that can expand the capacity, said Mr Arto.
Last year, SCCC’s exports to Cambodia, Laos and Burma totalled 1.76Mt, up by 7% from 2009. Another 2.8Mt went to Vietnam and Bangladesh.