Chief executive officer Jareeporn Jarukornsakul
Chief executive officer Jareeporn Jarukornsakul

WHA sets Bt43 bn for investment

Corporate August 10, 2016 01:00



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WHA Corporation, also known as WHA Group, has unveiled a Bt43-billion five-year investment plan for Thailand and Southeast Asia in a bid to cash in on the emergence of high-end industries such as aerospace, as well as investment in logistics, the “digital

Chief executive officer Jareeporn Jarukornsakul said yesterday that the listed group saw more opportunities in Thailand after the announcement of the government’s initiative to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor in the provinces of Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong.

WHA Group is also planning further expansion in Southeast Asia to take advantage of the Asean Economic Community, which is within what she termed the “oval” of India and mainland China.

“We feel more confident in the future after the charter referendum vote [on Sunday], and expect to see more foreign investors [entering Thailand], too,” she said.

Jareeporn said the group would focus on its four core businesses – logistics, industrial development, utilities and power, and digital platform – with an innovative digital platform and smart facilities to facilitate the emergence of new industrial super-clusters.

“After the acquisition and merger with Hemaraj Land and Development, WHA Group is gearing for expansion in both the domestic and overseas markets, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Malaysia,” the CEO said.

Development of clusters

In Thailand, Hemaraj has played an instrumental role in the development of the automotive, electronics and petrochemical clusters, and it is now committed to being an active partner in the development of “future” industries such as digital, aviation, robotics, biofuels, biochemicals and health, she said.

Of the Bt43 billion set aside for investment, WHA Group will spend Bt14 billion on logistics centres both in Thailand and overseas.

Domestically, the group will continue to develop high-value rental properties, including built-to-suit warehouses, built-to-suit factories, warehouse farms combining built-to-suit and ready-built facilities, built-to-own customised warehouses or factories, and built-to suit offices.

“We intend, for instance, to develop a 500-rai [80-hectare] area for the aerospace and robotics industries in the vicinity of U-tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport, which is poised to become an important commercial district for the aeronautics, cargo and automation industries,” Jareeporn said.

Last month, WHA handed over a built-to-suit 15,600-square-metre aerospace manufacturing facility to US-based Omada International.

In foreign markets, the objective of the group’s WHA Logistics arm is to expand by 10 per cent within the next five years in countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam and, later on, in Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia.

WHA Group last month announced the formation of a joint venture with Myanmar’s Daiwa House Industry, a major player in Japanese built-to-suit facilities, which is already present in Vietnam.

Currently, WHA Logistics controls space totalling 2.2 |million square metres in |built-to-suit logistics facilities, ready-built factories and warehouses.

Within the next five years, this figure is expected to surpass 3 million square metres in Thailand, and about 300,000 square metres overseas.

Utilities/power hub

Aside from logistics and industrial-estate investment, WHA Group plans to use Bt11 billion of its earmarked investment sum for its utilities and power hub, the chief executive said.

The group is involved in 13 power projects that will represent a combined capacity of 2,537 megawatts by 2019.

In power, the group will seek to be more proactive in conventional energy with its partners, while developing renewable energies and looking for new opportunities abroad, especially in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the utilities part of the hub will be diversified through natural-gas distribution and telecom fibre optics, both inside and outside the Kingdom, she said, adding that Vietnam and Myanmar would be the priority foreign countries in this regard.

The group has also set aside Bt4 billion for investments in its digital-platform hub by planning for three to five data centres over the period 2016-2020.

Two are expected to be operational by the end of this year, a third in early 2018, while another two projects will be considered by 2020 in the Rama II and Wang Noi areas of Bangkok, she explained.

WHA Group projects revenue and profit-sharing with partners will exceed Bt21 billion by 2020, up from Bt12 billion last year, she said.

In four to five years, 10 per cent of revenue will come from the group’s overseas interests.

In 2020, the revenue and profit-sharing contribution from the logistics unit will be lowered from the current 47 per cent to 23 per cent, while the industrial unit’s contribution will increase from 31 per cent to 41 per cent.

The power unit’s contribution will fall from 22 per cent to 18 per cent in the period, while the new digital unit is expected to generate 18 per cent, Jareeporn said.