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In Crisis, Cut Credit Sales, Boost Liquidity: Thai Business Leader

June 4, 1999

TOKYO (Nikkei)--When a crisis strikes, companies should reduce credit sales without fear of hurting revenue, and current and new investments alike should be stopped in order to enhance cash-on-hand liquidity, the president of Siam Cement Co. said here Friday.

Chumpol NaLamlieng was speaking on what he had learned from the Asian crisis at the Future of Asia conference in Tokyo, sponsored by Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc. The two-day conference was to wind up on Friday.

Currency fluctuations should be dealt with by expanding exports and resolutely hiking domestic prices, Chumpol said.

In order to gain a competitive edge, it is also crucial to concentrate management resources on specific operations, he added, pointing out that Siam Cement focused on three core operations among its 40 or more businesses.

Recent events represent an important turning point rather than a crisis, Shi Wen Long, chairman of Chi Mei Corp. of Taiwan, said at the conference.

South Korean and Thai makers of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) resin have managed to increase exports, and corporate competitiveness has strengthened noticeably in the wake of the Asian crisis, he said.

Chi Mei is the world's largest maker of ABS resin. The increased strength of foreign competitors has reduced its market share, however, prodding it to make major investments in liquid crystal displays, a new business for the company, he added.

(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Friday evening edition)

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.