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National Petrochemical to issue bonds

Thailand“s National Petrochemical Plc (NPC), a producer and distributor of ethylene, propylene and utilities products, said at the end of February that its board had approved a plan to issue up to TH…

Thailand“s National Petrochemical Plc (NPC), a producer and distributor of ethylene, propylene and utilities products, said at the end of February that its board had approved a plan to issue up to THB 5.4 billion (US$ 123.2 million) of bonds over the next three years from 2002. The company said in statement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) the bonds would have a maturity of up to 10 years. Details would be decided later. The issue needs approval at a shareholders“ meeting on March 25. A company official said of the total, about THB 3 billion would be issued in the first half of this year. The official said funds raised would be invested in the company“s planned high-density polyethylene project (HDPE), to produce 200,000 tons per year. NPC is a joint venture between Thailand“s largest oil and gas firm, PTT Plc, which holds 38%, and its downstream customers, including the nation“s largest industrial conglomerate, Siam Cement Plc, which holds 22%. NPC said it would pay a dividend of BHT 3 per share on 25 April for 2001. NPC made a net profit of THB 1.32 billion in 2001, compared with THB 2.16 billion profit in 2000. Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings (Thailand) said in a statement it had assigned long-term senior unsecured and short-term national ratings of “A+ (tha)“ and “F1 (tha)“ respectively to NPC. The agency said the ratings reflected NPC“s strong ownership structure, secured long-term feedstock supply, olefins sales agreements and solid financial position. Most analysts suggested investors buy NPC shares for long-term investment as the company“s outlook is positive with its HDPE project to be completed by end-2003, boosting its gross profit by 30% by 2004.

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