Thai Rung Union earmarks Bt1 bn for vehicle plant
Thai Rung Union Car has set aside Bt1 billion for building a third vehicle-manufacturing plant to serve a forecast sharp rise in demand. The company is seeking a plot of between 70 and 100 rai for the plant's establishment. Bt300 million will be spent in the initial phase, said TRU managing director Sompong Phaoenchoke.
The company will also raise production capacity by 25 per cent this year. Its two current plants have been running at 90-per-cent capacity.
The expansion is in line with the sharp growth of the auto industry. Estimated vehicle production in Thailand this year is 2.8 million units. TRU will also expand its auto-parts production business, in which three Japanese firms have approached the company about becoming partners.
The company is in talks with the firms over the format of a partnership. The negotiations are expected to be finalised in the middle of the year.
Online sales grow 336 per cent at Big C
Big C Supercentre, which has experienced massive shopping growth in the past six months, is pushing ahead with what it says is Asia's first "virtual moving store".
"Since Big C Supercentre launched a fully integrated online shopping platform consisting of smart-phone application, QR [quick response] code, website, call centre 1756 and Thailand's first virtual shelves in October 2012, the company has seen 336-per-cent growth in online sales, a threefold increase in online customer traffic, and 63,000 application downloads," said Kudatara Nagaviroj, director of corporate affairs at the hypermarket chain.
"Big C expects the online channel to grow by at least 100 per cent this year," Kudatara
Dusit Thani join '60+ Earth Hour'
The Dusit Thani Bangkok will participate in the "60+ Earth Hour" worldwide event on March 23, in a campaign supported by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Foundation for Environmental Education for Sustainable Development (Thailand). The hotel will invite hotel patrons, partners, friends and in-house guests to join the worthwhile initiative.
At 8.30pm on March 23, the Dusit Thani Bangkok will turn off all non-essential lights in the hotel for one hour, and a special Thai dance will take place in the Lobby Lounge, complemented by snacks and drinks.
A special candlelight "Save the Earth, Save Money" dinner menu will also be served at the hotel's Hamilton's Steak House, il cielo and D'Sens outlets, while a special cake with an Earth Hour logo will be on sale at Dusit Gourmet from tomorrow through March 23.
IPRC on S&P watchlist over financial risks
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services put IRPC’s ratings on creditwatch with negative implications, on the weak outlook of its financial risks.
In a statement released on March 12, it said IRPC’s debt-to-EBITDA ratio could remain at 5.5-6.5 times and its ratio of funds from operations (FFO) to debt could be at 10-15 per cent over the next 12 months. The company’s higher debt burden and the absence of a substantial and sustainable increase in refinery and petrochemical spreads will likely limit the improvement in the ratios.
"The CreditWatch placement reflects our view that IRPC’s financial risk profile and cash flow adequacy ratios could remain weak in 2013, following a very weak financial performance in 2012," said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Xavier Jean. S&P expects to announce the rating development in 90 days, taking into account the relationship between IRPC and its parent company, PTT.
CAT telecom told to inform concession holders of return of all network assets
CAT Telecom's board this week ordered management to send a letter to its two cellular concession holders Digital Phone Co and TrueMove for them to completely transfer their remaining network assets to the state enterprise within 30 days upon receipt before their concessions expire on September 15.
The move is part of CAT's plan to oversee their combined 18 million customers after the concessions end.
However, they all have to wait for the decision of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission on which party their customers will belong to after the concessions end.
With the build-transfer-operate structure, the concession holders have to transfer their assets to state enterprises after their concessions run out.
TrueMove has 7,892 cellular base stations and 6,979 telecom towers, while DPC has 3,609 base stations and 179 towers.
However, CAT and TrueMove and DPC are still disputing doubtful ownership of some telecom towers under the concessions. TrueMove has yet to hand over any of its towers to CAT.
Seminar on overseas investment at SET
The Stock Exchange of Thailand will hold a seminar on "Investment in overseas businesses through Thai holding companies" on Monday at the SET Building to provide information on holding companies for investors.
"Two Thai companies, CK Power and Amata VN, have already submitted fillings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. They expect to list on the SET in the second and third quarters of 2013. In addition, we see a great number of subsidiaries of Thai listed firms, especially those operating in the Greater mekong Subregion (GMS), showing interest to list on the SET," Chanitr Charnchainarong, executive vice president, said on Wednesday.
With the amendment of listing rules for holding companies effective since September 1, 2012, Thai companies running businesses abroad now get more chances to raise funds through the Thai capital market for business expansion.
The listing criteria for holding companies differ from those of other Thai listings due to differences in laws and accounting practices, and investors need to understand the key differences as well as their overseas business opportunities.
Thus, the SET has arranged for speakers from brokerages, financial advisers and holding companies to present information and insights for investors.
The amendment of listing rules for holding companies helps fulfil one of the SET's aims to become a leading capital market, as well as to match opportunities by being a funding source for businesses and an investment source for investors in the GMS, which is a significant growth potential market.
Starwood's Asia-Pacific Recruitment Day
Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Thailand recently held its first division-wide Starwood Asia-Pacific Recruitment Day attended by over 600 candidates at W Bangkok.
Spearheaded by Lothar Pehl, senior vice president for operations and global initiatives, and general managers from 11 properties in Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin, this innovative event was aimed at attracting the best and the brightest to explore a range of employment opportunities across multiple functions.
Passionate individuals gathered in the Great Room of the newly opened W Bangkok to meet with and discuss opportunities with human resources specialists representing each of the eight distinct and compelling lifestyle brands in Thailand including Aloft Bangkok, Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Le Meridien Bangkok, Plaza Athenee Bangkok, A Royal Meridien Hotel, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, Sheraton Pattaya Resort, St Regis Bangkok and The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok.
XM takes control of Thomas Idea
XM Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of JWT, announced yesterday that it had acquired a majority stake in Thomas Idea, Thailand's leading digital media agency.
The acquisition will allow XM Asia Pacific to have a foothold in Thailand, which is one of the most important markets in Southeast Asia. The number of Facebook users in Thailand rose dramatically to 18 million as of December last year, up from 13 million in the same month of previous year. Advertising expenditure on digital media also increased by 48 per cent last year.
XM Asia Pacific now operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia.
New Egat chief
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has appointed a panel to nominate a new Egat governor, who is expected to be an insider. Incumbent governor Sutat Patamasiriwat's term will end in July.
Chaired by Kurujit Nakornthap, deputy permanent secretary of the Energy Ministry, the panel will open applications from insiders and outsiders. The deputy governors with remaining four-year terms are Thana Puttirungsri, Pongdith Potchana, and Soonchai Kumnoonsate.
New malls planned
The Thai Shopping Centres Association estimates Bt120 billion in new investment in five years, through local and foreign investors. The association's data show 74 shopping centres in Thailand, or one for 900,000 people against 43,000 in Japan. Naris Cheyklin, president of the association, said yesterday that the business potential is huge and competitiveness enhancement is the theme as TSCA celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
TSCA yesterday held its annual press conference to announce collaboration among its 10 members - mostly big malls downtown.
Prasert 'Best Exec'
Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth was named the "Best Executive 2012" by Asiamoney magazine, based on the huge success of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services.
The global honour was in recognition of his sharp vision in building the business and guiding the development of Thailand's five-star hospitals into the forefront of the Asia-Pacific region. It also highlights his exemplary performance in ensuring the company's growth while maintaining capital discipline, which has helped reward shareholders. Under his guidance, BDMS also built up stakes in Bumrungrad International Hospital and Ramkhamhaeng Hospital.