Thailand’s number three cement maker TPI Polene PCL said on Tuesday it plans to wipe out 19 billion baht (US$482m) retained losses by the end of the current quarter ending June 30, enabling it to pay dividends. The company would transfer its share premium, cash reserves and operating profit to erase the losses, senior vice president Prasert Ittimakin told reporters. "We expect to wipe out all of them by the second quarter," Prasert said. But he said the company had not decided on the dividend and the plan was subject to an approval from creditors. Creditors include Thailand’s biggest commercial bank, Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank and German development bank Kreditanstalt fuer Wideraufbau (KfW).
TPI Polene, 49 percent owned by Thailand’s biggest corporate debtor, Thai Petrochemical Industry, last paid a dividend in 1997. In January, TPI Polene sold new shares worth $285m to buy back debt at a discount, which the company said would help cut its debt burden by half to about $500m. It had an operating profit of 2.8 billion baht last year thanks to higher cement sales and prices as the construction sector boomed. Prasert said TPI Polene was also seeking a $750m loan from Krung Thai Bank to refinance debt and could opt for a bond issue if the bank refused to make the loan.