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Samart allots B500m for acquisitions to diversify operations
[November 13, 2012]

Samart allots B500m for acquisitions to diversify operations

Nov 14, 2012 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Samart Corporation plans to spend 500 million baht on two merger and acquisition deals with utilities and content firms early next year.

The country's leading communications equipment firm announced a 300-million-baht acquisition yesterday of Teda Co, a local electrical sub-station.

President Watchai Vilailuck said the move is aimed at diversifying its portfolio in order to reduce its heavy reliance on telecommunications business. It also intends to cash in on the burgeoning media and sustainable power businesses to create fixed revenue streams.

"The two acquisition deals are expected to be settled early next year," said Mr Watchai.

Samart reported consolidated revenue of 4.107 billion baht in the third quarter of this year, down 34% from the same period last year.

But net profit for the quarter rose by 10% from 259 million to 284 million baht.

Of the total revenue, Samart Telcom, its telecoms solution arm, posted a net profit of 237 million baht on revenue of 1.92 billion baht.

Samart I-Mobile (SIM), its handset flagship, reported a net profit of 35 million baht on revenue of 1.618 billion. The company sold over 3 million handsets in the first nine months, and the average handset price rose by 23%.

For the first nine months, revenue decreased by 22% from a year earlier to 12.129 billion baht. Net profit increased by 14% to 785 million baht.

Mr Watchai attributed the higher profit to the increased margin on its handset sales and the ICT business. He said the lower revenue was due mainly to the delay in TOT's 3G services.

But he said Samart expects strong revenue growth in the fourth quarter, fuelled by its ICT business and the second phase of 3G services it operates for TOT.

Samart, through SIM, acts as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) for end users of TOT. The company was awarded a five-year contract by the state telecom enterprise for exclusive rights to 40% of 3G network capacity to be resold to end users, or 2.88 million numbers, under TOT's new business model.

Mr Watchai said the company expects to have 200,000 MVNO customers using its i-Mobile 3GX brand this year.

He added Samart aims to win TOT's second-phase 3G network expansion project worth 20 billion baht. TOT chose SL Consortium, made up of Samart, Loxley, Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei Technologies, as the winner of the state's 3G phase 1 project.

TOT expects to have 5,200 3G network base stations next year, up from an expected 4,000 by the end of this year.

"We're confident Samart can achieve a net profit of 1 billion baht on consolidated revenue of 18 billion this year," said Mr Watchai.

Samart shares closed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 11.2 baht, up 10 satang, in trade worth 70 million baht.

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