Did you know Siam Cement Group is a result of close Thai-Danish collaboration?

Photo from The Siam Cement Co. factory, Bangsue 1916.
Photo from FLSmidth archives.

The Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok continues to celebrate Denmark and Thailand’s long-standing relations through their campaign ‘Today, tomorrow, together – Denmark and Thailand 1621 – 2021.’ Recently they shared a very interesting fact about one of Thailand’s largest companies.

“Did you know that Siam Cement Group (SCG), one of the largest Thai companies, is a result of close Thai-Danish collaboration?

On the brink of the First World War, Siam was developing fast. So fast that King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) wanted to begin national cement production.

Until then Siam had relied on cement import from outside – mostly from Denmark through The East Asiatic Company.
In 1913 the King established Siam Cement Co. (later Siam Cement Group), but at the time Siam lacked the necessary skills to design, develop and run what would be the largest industrial complex at the time.

The solution was to look to Denmark, which had proved a reliable partner in many other fields, and to the Danish cement company FLSmidth, which was already a large global player in the cement industry.

The King wanted FLSmidth to not only construct the first factory but also provide the general manager, the financial controller, and the high-level engineers to run it.

Siam would deliver capital, salesforce, labor, and customers.

The factory was placed in Bangsue, in the marsh areas outside of Bangkok, on an island surrounded by canals and rail lines for the transport of materials. Villas for the Danish staff were also built here.

The cement production proved a success and after a series of Danish-born CEOs, Thai management fully took over Siam Cement Group in 1974, and close cooperation between the two companies has lasted until the present day.

Today SCG has developed into one of the largest companies on the Thai Stock Exchange and serves as another great example of strong and successful Thai-Danish collaboration.”

The factory at Bangsue 1916. Housing for the Danish part of the workforce on the right.
Photo from FLSmidth archive.
Bangsue 1916. Housing for the Danish staff near the factory.
The Dane Oscar Schultz, first director of Siam Cement Co, stands on the jetty.
Photo from FLSmidth archives.

Mette Larsen

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

View all posts by Mette Larsen