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Amata plans second Vietnam estate, to invest up to $500m

The SET-listed Amata Corporation, Thailand's leading industrial estate operator, will invest between US$500 million and $600 million to develop its second estate in Vietnam, with land sales expected by next year's fourth quarter.

Somhatai Panichewa, the chief business officer, said the company is designing a master plan of the 1,300-hectare estate in Dong Nai province while awaiting an investment licence from the Vietnamese government.

The site is near the future Long Thanh airport serving Ho Chi Minh City and 10 kilometres from the existing 700-hectare Amata City Bien Hoa Industrial Park. Phase one of the new Amata Express City will be launched in 2015.

"We expect investment certificates to be issued in next year's first quarter," said Mrs Somhatai.

"Land sales should begin in the fourth quarter of the year, by which time we expect the Vietnamese government to upgrade incentives to be more appealing to investors."

She acknowledged recent changes to investment privileges in Vietnam have resulted in less foreign direct investment (FDI) the last two years, including a 24% drop last year.

The government there has begun to realise incentives must be adjusted to draw more FDI.

"We anticipate new investment incentives starting early next year," said Mrs Somhatai. "So far, the residential and commercial sectors have felt the pinch, although inflation has already declined to single digits this month."

Amata Express City includes 420 hectares of land aimed at high-tech industry and 760 hectares to be developed into a township for the commercial and service sectors.

Amata wants to expand its land plots at its Bien Hoa estate, which opened in 1994. At present, the 4,375-rai Bien Hoa houses 120 plants.

AMATA shares closed last Friday on the SET at 18.30 baht, up 20 satang, in trade worth 123 million baht.

Writer: Bangkok Post News Published: 08/05/2012