Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thailand's Globlex expects to turn profit this year

Writer: NUNTAWUN POLKUAMDEE

Published: 20/07/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Business

Globlex Holding Management is confident of turning a profit this year, thanks to improved sentiment in the capital market and growth in gold futures trading.

Market share at Globlex Securities, the group's securities arm, has risen to around 2.3% of total trade on the Stock Exchange of Thailand from 1.6% earlier this year, as the broker has added marketing staff to build up its customer base. Globlex had a market share of 1.4% at the end of 2008.

Chanachai Joonjiraporn, the chief executive of Globlex Securities, said growing optimism that the worst of the global economic crisis had passed would help support the capital market and the broker's financial results.

"We are confident that we will turn a profit this year from our loss in 2008," he said.

Globlex Holding posted a first quarter loss of 28.3 million baht on revenues of 320.07 million. The company reported a loss of 120 million on revenues of 256.22 million in 2008. Globlex Securities currently accounts for more than 80% of total revenues for the group.

Mr Chanachai, who joined Globlex in February, said the SET index could reach 600 to 700 points by the end of the year, propelled by stronger economic growth and seasonal factors, including inflows into long-term equity and retirement mutual funds.

He said the broker would set aside 300 million baht for a new proprietary trading arm, and would continue to expand its market base.

Continued growth in the gold futures market would also support Globlex, which counts among its major shareholders the Koohapremkit family, the owners of the gold wholesaler Greatest Gold and Refinery.

Higher volumes in the stock market have helped push up share prices of local brokers, including Globlex. GBX stock closed on Friday at 0.76 baht, compared to a low this year of 0.32 baht in mid-February.

Indeed, trading volumes for GBX skyrocketed last week amid reports of heavy buying in the stock by Singapore's UOB Bank.

Thanapisal Koohapremkit, an adviser and major shareholder of Globlex, said his family had no intention of divesting its shares.

"We have not been contacted by any party about a merger or takeover," he said.

"We've also heard rumours about UOB Bank purchasing our stock, but have yet to receive any updates on the new shareholders."

Mr Thanapisal said GBX believed it was adequately prepared for industry liberalisation over the next few years, and was confident that the company could survive rising competition on its own.

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