UPDATE 1-Thai consumer product group Saha sees recovery after coup

Tue Jun 3, 2014 6:36am EDT

* Saha Group expects sales up 5 pct in 2014

* To speed up expansion and acquisitions in H2 (Recasts with comments from Saha group, adds survey on consumer confidence)

BANGKOK, June 3 (Reuters) - Thailand's largest consumer product conglomerate Saha Group forecast on Tuesday 5 percent sales growth for this year, saying it expected the military government would soon implement economic reforms to restore confidence after a coup.

The military junta running Thailand has drawn up a list of emergency measures such as price caps on fuel and loan guarantees for small firms to kick-start an economy threatened by recession after months of political turmoil.

"Our sales fell in the first quarter due to the impact from the political situation. But the outlook has improved after the army government accelerates economic plans, which should help the economy to recover quickly," chairman Boonsithi Chokwatana told reporters.

The growth forecast is better than last year when the group posted no growth due to weak consumption, he said.

Consumer confidence in Thailand rose in May after falling for 13 straight months, according to a university survey carried out after the army seized power, saying it would revive the economy.

Unlisted Saha Group is partnering with Lawson Inc, Japan's second-largest convenience store chain, to open 108 shops in Thailand. Boonsithi said the company was planning to speed up expansion and was on the look out for opportunities to buy assets in the second half of this year.

"Some projects including acquisitions were slowed down due to domestic political situation. Now, we aim to speed up and talk with Japanese investors for investments in more than 10 projects in food and logistics," he said without elaborating.

I.C.C. International Pcl, a cosmetics and fashion distribution arm under Saha Group, also expects sales to improve in the second half due to improving economic outlook.

I.C.C. said first-half sales are expected to fall 10 percent from a year earlier, hit by weak consumer spending after several months of political unrest.

On Tuesday, I.C.C. shares rose nearly 2 percent, outperforming a 0.9 percent rise of the main Thai index.

(Reporting by Saranya Suksomkij; Writing by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Matt Driskill and Miral Fahmy)