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Ichitan to proceed with delayed IPO in February

Ichitan Group plans to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand next month after delaying the plan from the final quarter of last year.

The group plans an initial public offering of 300 million new shares, or 23.1 per cent of its registered capital of Bt1.3 billion.

It will use the new capital to repay bank loans for investment in its second production plant.

Ichitan Group recorded revenue growth of 43 per cent in the first 11 months of last year compared with the same period in 2012. For the first half, it reported revenue of Bt3.74 billion and net profit of Bt541 million.

The company claims about 44 per cent of the ready-to-drink-tea market valued at Bt8.5 billion. To secure this share, it plans to launch Ichitan Selected, a low-sugar beverage made from selected whole green tea leaves, available in two flavours.

Ready-to-drink green tea was brought into the Thai market only in the past decade. Many health-conscious consumers have embraced it and switched from soft drinks. However, most still like the sweet taste of soft drinks.

Therefore, Ichitan believes there is an opportunity in the low-sugar segment. It is eyeing this potential market and plans to develop and launch low-sugar products to meet the growing demand. Such products will be this year's main focus, said company executive Thanapan Kongnanta.

Launching new products is Ichitan's strategy to drive the corporation's growth.

The company says Ichitan Green Factory is equipped with the latest world-class technology, which automates every process from production line to warehouse. Once the plant's second phase is completed this quarter, Ichitan's production capacity will be increased to 1 billion bottles and 200 million cartons per year. As a result, the company is now ready to list on the SET, chief executive officer Tan Passakornnatee said.


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