Siam Cement Group plans to increase its construction material imports from China over the next five years to the tune of Bt6 billion as Thailand’s largest building-supplies maker taps China’s lower production costs. Through the group’s trading arm, SCT Trading Co, the conglomerate early this year started importing materials such as ceramic tiles, sanitary ware and hardware tools from China to retail at its Cementhai Homemarts, SCT managing director Kalin Sarasin said.
The firm aims to use China more as its sourcing centre to serve Thailand and other markets in Southeast Asia, he said. “We’re building up connections with Chinese cement producers. In future, we may export their products to the Vietnamese or US markets,” he said. Kalin said SCT’s expansion in China was strategically important to the group.
As domestic demand is catching up, Siam Cement plans to reduce its cement exports to serve the local market, which he said provided better sales margins. The group plans to continue exporting and maintain its overseas clients through sourcing cement from China instead of its own plants in Thailand, the managing director said. SCT has operated a branch in Hong Kong for several years, and on July 1 opened its first office in mainland China in Guangzhou, Kalin said. The firm plans to open three more overseas branches next year in India, Indonesia and another one in China – either in Kunming or Quongqing.
Kalin said its expansion in China conformed to the group’s vision of having a strong position in its core businesses in Asean, as the low-cost country complements as a sourcing centre. The group has no plans to invest in China, he said.