STOCKS NEWS THAILAND- HSBC rates Thai Air 'overweight' as tourism booms

Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:40am EST

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HSBC Global Research said it rated Thai Airways International Pcl shares "overweight" because of an expected buoyancy in Thailand travel market.

HSBC said Thai Airways is expected "to report a decent fourth quarter of 2012 with the prospect of a dividend announcement". The research house maintained its target price at 27 baht.

Thai Airways did not pay dividend in 2011, when Thailand and its tourist industry were hit by serious floods.

"We believe Thai Airways is well positioned to benefit from strong tourism travel into Thailand with a better-than-expected performance at Thai Smile and profitable operations at Nok Air," it said in a report, referring to the low-cost units of Thai Air.

"Traffic performance in key markets has been strong. Non-fuel cost controls and high fuel hedging should help lower costs," it said.

Thai Airways shares were unchanged at 22.80 baht at 0925 GMT, while the broader SET index was up 0.38 percent.

1626 (0926 GMT) (Reporting by Pairat Temphairojana; Editing by Jijo Jacob)

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