Thai PTT seen to post 27% jump in 2010 net profit - brokerage

07 September 2010 06:55  [Source: ICIS news]

PTT facility in Mab Ta PhutBy Nurluqman Suratman

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thailand’s oil and gas giant PTT is expected to record a 27% jump in its 2010 net profit to baht (Bt) 76bn ($2.44bn), on the back of higher polymer prices and stronger domestic gas consumption, DBS Vickers Securities said in a research note on Tuesday.

The brokerage had revised up its average price expectation for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to $1,150/tonne this year against an earlier forecast of $1,100/tonne due to strong demand.

“We believe that strong consumption in Asia, especially China, will help absorb the excess of HDPE supply,” said DBS Vickers analyst Naphat Chantaraserekul in the note.

PTT would also benefit from better HDPE spreads due to continuing reduction in utilisation rates of inefficient naphtha-based producers, he added.

Meanwhile, gas demand in Thailand was expected to increase this year, in line with stronger economic growth, according to DBS Vickers.

“Our economist has recently raised GDP growth for Thailand this year to 9% from 8% in the second quarter of 2010, highlighting the strong domestic gas consumption,” Chantaraserekul said.

DBS Vickers forecasts PTT’s gas sales volume to post a 6% annual increase to 3,909mmscfd (million standard cubic feet per day) this year, with the peak in consumption traditionally in the third quarter of each year.

In 2011, PTT should be able to get a 9% boost in earnings with the release from court suspension of its sixth-gas separation plant, its two polymer expansion projects and its ethanolamine project, the brokerage said.

PTT affiliate - PTT Chemical, which owns the two HDPE expansion projects, can expect an 18% profit boost next year, DBS Vickers said.

Meanwhile, the Mab Ta Phut controversy continued, with local residents and environmental groups slamming the 2 September court decision to lift the injunction on 74 out of 76 projects at the industrial estate.

The four-party panel led by former Thailand Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun that was studying the environmental issues in Mab Ta Phut demanded that the government clarify its decision to shorten the list of industrial activities that were deemed as environmentally harmful, according to local newspaper Bangkok Post.

The National Environment Board last month reduced the number of harmful activities from 18 to 11, which excluded most downstream petrochemical projects that were suspended about a year ago.

PTT’s expansion project at its monoethylene glycol plant and Thai Plastic and Chemicals’ (TPC) vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) expansions failed to make the cut and would have to go through a whole gamut of process, including health and environmental impact assessments, to be eligible to re-apply for operating permits.

($1 = Bt31.21)

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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