* 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
BANGKOK, June 3 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
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)