BANGKOK, July 25 (Reuters) - Thailand’s top industrial conglomerate, Siam Cement Pcl, reported a 43 percent drop in quarterly profit as expected on Wednesday, due mainly to weak demand and an inventory loss at its petrochemical business that resulted from a drop in global oil prices.
Siam Cement, a barometer of Thailand’s corporate health, posted April-June net profit of 4.28 billion Thai baht ($135 million), down from 7.49 billion baht a year earlier. Eleven analysts polled by Reuters had forecast an average net profit of 4.3 billion baht.
Siam Cement is also expected to book losses from the shutdown of its 26 percent-owned Bangkok Synthetics plant at Map Ta Phut industrial estate after a fire in May.
Siam Cement, which imports raw material, naphtha, to feed its petrochemical plants, is expected to book an inventory loss of about 1.3-1.5 billion baht after petrochemical prices fell sharply in line with global oil prices.
Analysts expect earnings to hit bottom in the second quarter, typically the low season for cement and paper businesses, and expect a recovery in the second half of the year.
Siam Cement, 30 percent owned by the Thai royal family’s investment arm, the Crown Property Bureau, focuses on three core businesses: cement, petrochemicals, and paper and packaging. Petrochemicals generally make up almost half of its profits. ($1 = 31.77 baht) (Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Matt Driskill)