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Amid depressed rates, Thoresen diversifies into infrastructure

Amid depressed rates, Thoresen diversifies into infrastructure

Bangkok: Thoresen Thai Agencies (TTA), Thailand's largest dry bulk carrier, is looking to invest in up to three energy infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia as its core shipping business is expected to struggle until 2011, according to local media. Managing director M.L. Chandchutha Chandratat said TTA was considering establishing a holding company in Singapore to manage its overseas investments.

He said each deal would require an investment of US$25-30 million to buy assets on the market at attractive prices.

''The owners of this infrastructure have been forced by the global financial meltdown to sell their assets,'' he said.

''The current crisis has provided us with a good opportunity to get the assets at cheap prices and we are working very hard to get the deals done.'' With cash reserves of 10 billion baht, TTA is ready to pursue new investments and diversify its business, he said. The SET-listed shipper reports total liabilities of about $200 million (7.1 billion baht).

TTA's shipping business, which provides 75% of its total turnover, should remain constrained from 2009 to 2011 due to the oversupply of vessels and shrinking international trade volumes due to a world recession, he added.

Given anticipated world economic growth of 2% next year, M.L. Chandchutha said the demand for ships for cargo transport would grow in a range of 2% to 3%. On the other hand, the global fleet would expand by 10% next year as new vessels are delivered.  [10/12/08]