(Adds details on investors, background)
* Biggest approved project was for Toyota Motor
* Another involves China's SAIC and Thailand's CP
* Junta leader Gen. Prayuth chaired investment board meeting
BANGKOK, June 18 Thailand's investment agency
said on Wednesday it approved applications for 18 projects worth
about 120 billion baht ($3.7 billion), mainly in the auto
industry, at its first board meeting after the May 22 military
The largest approval was for Toyota Motor Corp.,
which plans to spend 51.5 billion baht for production of pickup
trucks and parts, the Board of Investment (BOI) said in a
Wednesday's meeting was chaired by the junta's leader, Gen.
Also approved were a tyre production project worth 18.9
billion baht by LLIT (Thailand) and production of coated steel
sheets worth 10 billion baht by Posco Coated Steel (Thailand),
the BOI said.
Another approved plan was for investment of 9.2 billion baht
by a joint venture of SAIC Motor Corp. of China and
Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group, for car production.
Thailand is a regional vehicle production and export base
for the world's top car manufacturers. Domestic auto sales in
Thailand tumbled 38 percent in May from a year earlier, the
Federation of Thai Industries said on Wednesday.
One approved plan, from Luxemburg's Supernap International
SA's, is for a 6.9 billion baht investment in a data centre.
The projects endorsed on Wednesday are among big
applications awaiting approval. The military government said
early this month that backlogged applications for local and
foreign investors to invest more than $21 billion would be acted
on within two months.
The army seized power in a bid to restore order and business
confidence after months of political unrest hurt consumption and
The total value of investment applications fell 42 percent
to 308 billion baht in the first five months of this year from a
year earlier. Within that, foreign investment requests dropped
10 percent to 230 billion baht.
The junta has announced measures it hopes will get the
sputtering economy going again. It is seeking to fast-track
infrastructure spending, which has been derailed by the
On Wednesday, Thailand's central bank cut this year's growth
forecast nearly by half to 1.5 percent but it saw a much
brighter 2015 as the military government tries to reinvigorate
(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Viparat Jantraprap; Editing
by Richard Borsuk)