SET up despite Banpu

SET up despite Banpu

Thai stocks moved up slightly on Friday despite a big drop in shares of blue-chip coal miner Banpu Plc.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index closed up 3.58 points or 0.28% from the day before at 1,286.26 a gain of 0.7% from the previous Friday's close of 1,276.12. Turnover was 39.57 billion baht with 6.64 billion shares traded.

Banpu dropped 38 baht or 8.6%, the most in a year, to close at 404 baht on market-leading turnover of 6.6 billion baht after a court ordered it to pay 31.7 billion baht in compensation to a former partner in a power project in Laos.

The Thai Civil Court on Thursday ordered Banpu and its power unit to pay Siva Nganthavee and his companies damages worth 4 billion baht, excluding interest, and an opportunity cost of 860 million baht a year for 2015 to 2027 and 1.38 billion baht a year for 2028 to 2039, Banpu CFO Somruedee Chaimongkol confirmed.

Mr Siva had sought 63.5 billion baht from Banpu, claiming the company sidelined his firm from the $3.7-billion Hongsa power plant after deceptively gaining information about the plant and a related coal mine and influencing the Lao government.

Vientiane subsequently cancelled its contract with Mr Siva and awarded the project to Banpu.

Banpu would appeal against the court order, Ms Somruedee said in a statement to the stock exchange.

Most Asian markets rose as the debut of the Apple iPhone 5 boosted technology shares and energy companies advanced on higher crude prices.

On the SET, foreign investors were net sellers on Friday of 508.96 million baht worth of Thai shares and institutions sold 633.37 million. Local brokers bought 1.15 billion baht and individual investors 719.54 million baht.

The SET50 index of blue chips ended at 878.85 points, up 1,63 points, with a total trade value of 23.79 billion baht. The SETHD index of high-dividend stocks fell 2.08 points to 1,144.13, on turnover worth 19.94 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment index went up 1.93 points to 342.96, on turnover of 1.73 billion baht

Other most active shares by value besides Banpu were Jasmine International (JAS), down 2 satang to 3,84 baht; True, up 35 satang to 5.80 baht; CPF unchanged at 32.50; and Bangkok Land, up 6 satang to 1.40 baht.

In the currency markets, the baht halted a two-week gain as the slowing global economy continued to threaten demand for Asian exports.

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 30.78/82 to the dollar, compared with 30.89/92 on Thursday and , and 30.73/76 the previous week.

"There's concern about the global economic outlook and thats keeping investors somewhat cautious, said Kozo Hasegawa, a Bangkok-based foreign-exchange trader at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

"Still, with quantitative easing in the US there's optimism about more fund inflows to the region, making the currencies range-bound in recent sessions."

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