DRT to ride regional roofing demand

DRT to ride regional roofing demand

SET-listed Diamond Building Products Plc (DRT) aims to expand its business in the Asean market, expecting the proportion of sales from overseas to rise to 20% by 2018.

Thailand's third-largest maker of roofing products anticipates strong growth in the construction materials business throughout the region, especially in Myanmar, said chief operating officer Satid Susbuntad.

The plan to increase sales from exports to Asean markets is part of a strategy to offset declining domestic sales in recent years. Exports made up 16% of DRT's 2015 revenue.

"We think that demand in Myanmar will help support the company's growth," Mr Satid said. "With a population close to 60 million as in Thailand, plus a more stable political situation, Myanmar's economy will have strong potential to grow in the future."

DRT has a handful of authorised dealers in Myanmar, and the number is expected to rise in Yangon and other major cities.

Sales from Myanmar accounted for 10% of 2015 exports, and the figure is expected to reach 15% this year.

DRT also exports to Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and India.

Mr Satid said his company started investing in Cambodia 10 years ago and succeeded in becoming the second-largest provider of roofing products with a 40% market share.

In Laos, DRT plans several types of products to meet the local taste for colourful products.

Although sales from exports are rising, Mr Satid said the company's 2015 revenue would miss the growth target of 5%.

"The domestic market for construction materials is expected to stay sluggish, and we see no sign that it will be any better than last year," Mr Satid said.

With slow demand at home, the company is running at 70-75% of capacity, producing 982,000 tonnes a year.

As demand rises in neighbouring countries, however, capacity is set to rise soon.

DRT shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at four baht, unchanged, in light trade worth 624,000 baht.

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