June 20, 2008

Metal Sheet Maker Sees Momentum

By Vichaya Pitsuwan, Bangkok Post, Thailand

Jun. 19--Steel Intertech Co (STEEL), the MAI-listed maker of metal sheets for building, hopes to see 20 percent revenue growth this year on higher prices and rising demand, according to managing director Prasit Ounvorawong.

The company's revenue in the first quarter of this year rose to 85.80 million baht from 77.84 million in the same same period of last year. Sales for all of 2007 totalled 298.73 million baht.

Mr Prasit said the company expected a good performance for the rest of the year with margins of 13-14 percent, similar to 2007, as long as there were no unsettling political developments such as a coup.

Steel Intertech, which produces insulated metal sheet roofing, wall cladding and pre-engineered building components, said metal sheet prices had gone up by 35 percent since the beginning of the year, in line with surging steel prices.

However, he said demand remained strong as new building designs emphasised heat insulation with light weight to combat global warming, and metal sheet roofing fit this specification.

In fact, politics is now the company's main worry.

"The political unrest could cause delays in investment [by prospective customers]. We may have to revise down our forecast as we are involved in made-to-order production," said Mr Prasit.

Metal sheet roofing accounts for 92 percent of the company's total revenue. Steel Intertech holds a 5 percent share in the segment, which has about 10 competitors.

"We plan to increase production to 40 percent to 50 percent of full capacity to accommodate this year's expected growth, or equivalent to 1.5 million square metres of metal sheet roofing," he said.

In 2007, the company's output totalled 874,400 square metres, In the first quarter of this year, it produced 283,275 sq m, up 22 percent from the previous quarter.

STEEL shares closed unchanged yesterday at 2.14 baht.


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