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Double A turns focus on new markets abroad

Goes for global branded strategy amid slide in overall paper trade

Double A (1991), the leading Thai paper-maker, plans to penetrate additional foreign markets in a global branded strategy aimed at maintaining growth amid an overall paper-market decline both at home and abroad.

Charnvit Jarusombathi, senior executive vice president of the listed company, yesterday said Double A's goal was to increase the sales contribution from foreign markets from 80 per cent currently to more than 90 per cent in the next three to five years.

The company currently exports its Double A-branded paper to 140 markets around the world. It plans to penetrate more markets in the Middle East this year, after successfully entering Asia and Europe.

He said annual growth of the paper market in Thailand, for instance, had dropped from about 10 per cent five years ago to 5-6 per cent this year, with demand falling in line with the country's economic and political problems.

Moreover, paper has been replaced in large part by electronic devices such as iPads and mobile phones, which allow users to access digital information without the need for any physical use of paper. He added that many publishers of magazines and books had been affected by this "technological determinism" and had to shut down operations.

"We acquired Alizay, a paper mill in France, at a good price last year and it gives us a [potential] total manufacturing capacity, including our three paper mills in Prachin Buri, of about 1 million tonnes per annum by the end of 2016, up from about 700,000 tonnes currently," Charnvit said.

Alizay factory

The Alizay factory will increase its manufacturing capacity from the current 200,000 tonnes per annum to its full capacity of about 300,000 tonnes a year by 2016.

The plant will supply Double A paper as well as its own recycled-paper brand, Evolve, to many markets in Europe and Africa.

Double A posted sales of Bt5.3 billion in the first quarter - up 20 per cent from the same period last year - driven by the company's penetration of new emerging markets. It exported to four new markets during the quarter.

The company expects to achieve Bt20 billion in sales over the full course of the year.

"We plan to penetrate new markets in the Middle East. Double A products are now available in some markets in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia," said the executive.

On the domestic front, the company now has a network of about 700 franchised Double A Copy Centre shops around the Kingdom.

Two months ago, it introduced a new retail format - Double A Member - allowing copier shops to become members and enjoy Double A paper purchases at a special price.

There are 700 member shops currently, with the number expected to reach 1,000 by the end of this year, he said.

Meanwhile, Double A yesterday launched its new corporate-social-responsibility campaign - "A to A … Dare to Dream - under the "Double A Better Tomorrow" project.

The campaign aims to inspire the children of Thai farmers to work towards achieving the occupations of their dreams.

Professionals from all walks of life are invited to give the children insights into their areas of work, as well as share helpful tips in realising the professions of their dreams.

Their input will be gathered into a handbook, which will then be printed and distributed to schoolchildren in remote rural areas.


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