Siam Cement Group (SCG), Thailand’s largest industrial conglomerate, is planning to invest $200m to more than double the capacity of its cement factory in southern Cambodia.
Kampot Cement Co Ltd, a joint venture in which SCG holds 93% and a Cambodian partner the rest, aims to lift its annual capacity to 3Mt by 2010 from the current 1Mt, according to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
So far, SCG has invested $127m in the facility located 148km southwest of Phnom Penh and within driving distance of the Cambodia-Vietnam border.
’’The increase is to purely serve the domestic Cambodian market where demand for cement has risen sharply from ongoing construction projects. The property sector is also booming here,’’ a high-ranking embassy official said.
Cambodia still imports cement from neighbouring countries including Thailand. But given the current high oil prices that have pushed up transport costs, local cement producers would gain more competitive advantages.
’’Consequently, the expansion at Kampot has become more feasible for the time being,’’ the official said.
SCG’s Thai headquarters declined to confirm the expansion plan, saying the project had been studied.
According to the embassy, construction materials are the main items Cambodia import from Thailand, along with sugar and farm and consumer products.
Thailand last year recorded a 70% rise in exports to Cambodia with a total value of $1.4bn. The figure does not include about 30 billion baht in cross-border trade.
According to SCT Co Ltd, an international trading arm of SCG, Thailand ranks third among the trading partners of Cambodia after Vietnam and China.