Thai Stocks Fall for a Fifth Day; ITV Drops on Fee Deadline

Thai stocks fell for a fifth day, the longest losing streak in six months. ITV (ITV) Pcl, the country's third-largest publicly traded television broadcaster, tumbled by the daily limit after the government said it sought fines to be paid in 45 days.

``There is a risk that this larger fine could be imposed, and there would be no value left for equity shareholders,'' said Lance Depew, who helps manage $270 million at Leading Assets United Ltd. in Bangkok. ``The stock is too speculative and has too many issues.''

Thai Union Frozen Products Pcl and other exporters declined on concern the baht will strengthen further against the dollar, reducing their earnings from abroad.

The SET Index dropped 2.58, or 0.4 percent, to 732.40 in Bangkok, its lowest close since Nov. 28. The measure lost 1.8 percent in five days, the longest stretch of declines since June.

ITV, controlled by Singapore's Temasek Holdings Pte., plunged 0.63 baht, or 30 percent, to 1.47.

ITV will be asked to pay 97.76 billion baht ($2.8 billion) in fines, Julayuth Hiranyawisit, permanent secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, told reporters in Bangkok. It also has to pay retroactive fees of 2.2 billion baht. The order to pay in 45 days is in line with the broadcaster's original contract.

Shin Corp., the parent of ITV, slipped 1.25 baht, or 4.2 percent, to 28.50. Shin's shares accounted for 22 percent of the SET's drop. Temasek and other investors bought 96 percent of Shin between January and March.

Exporters Slide

The baht is at its strongest level against the dollar since October 1997 and is the third-best performing currency this year, with a 17 percent gain. It was recently up 0.2 percent at 35.21.

``The Thai baht is strengthening and some funds may realize that they should take profit from stocks and currency exchange,'' Sittidath Prasertrungruang, an analyst at Seamico Securities Pcl in Bangkok.

Thai Union (TUF), the world's second-biggest tuna canner, dropped 0.20 baht, or 0.8 percent, to 24.80, the lowest since Dec. 1. The company, which owns the Chicken of the Sea tuna brand, got about 90 percent of its sales from outside Thailand.

GFPT Pcl (GFPT), which ships most of its frozen chicken meat abroad, fell 0.10 baht, or 0.8 percent, to 12.60.

Delta Electronics (Thailand) Pcl (DELTA), a unit of the world's biggest maker of computer power systems and chargers, slipped 0.10 baht, or 0.6 percent, to 17.50. Its customers in the U.S. include Dell Inc., the world's second-largest personal-computer maker.

`Still Profitable'

``Most exporters are still profitable,'' said Chaovalit Ekabut, president of Siam Pulp & Paper Co., a unit of Siam Cement Pcl. ``The baht strength just curbs their profits, but it hasn't dragged them to losses yet.''

Siam Cement slid 2 baht, or 0.8 percent, to 252. Its paper units export about 20 percent of sales.

Four shares fell for each that rose on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. About 13.6 billion baht in shares changed hands, down 12 percent from the three-month daily average.

Elsewhere, Demco Pcl (DEMCO), a builder of electrical transmission lines, jumped 0.55 baht, or 18 percent, to 3.60 in its first day of trading. The company raised 153 million baht from the sale of 50 million shares at 3.05 baht each in an initial public offering this month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dominic G. Diongson in Bangkok at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Regan at

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