Economy July 12, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

OfficeMate spruces up its stores

OfficeMate is refreshing its storefront to give it a more modern look.
It is also promoting its website and catalogue channels to increase its customer base and drive growth to more than 50 per cent this year. 
CEO Worawoot Oonjai said yesterday that in the first half of the year, 45 stores nationwide were refurbished to make them “trendier” and more appealing to customers. 
In the next few months, four OfficeMate branches will be opened nationwide. 
Hemaraj thrives 
Hemaraj Land and Development saw industrial-estate sales and rentals in the first half of year increasing to 1,190 rai (190 hectares) and ready-built factory rentals growing by 10 per cent. 
Project expansion is on the rise with new customers and also with existing customers, of which 44 per cent are Japanese and more than 40 per cent are in the automobile industry. Sales are expected to keep up their momentum. 
CEO David Nardone said yesterday that industrial-estate land sales had surged by 32 per cent.
Mega ICBC rated
TRIS Ratings yesterday confirmed Mega ICBC Thailand’s rating as “A+” and outlook as “stable”. The rating is based on its financial strength, which derives from a high level of capital. 
Last year, the bank reported net profits of Bt269 million, a significant rise from Bt49 million in 2011. 
Its return on average assets improved to 1.52 per cent from 0.29 per cent. 
IEAT seeks nod to international unit
The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand is seeking board approval to establish IEAT International to facilitate Thai companies investing overseas.
Witoon Simachokedee, permanent secretary of the Industry Ministry and chairman of the state agency, said yesterday that the wholly owned subsidiary would promise greater flexibility in investment. 
IEAT will set up the unit with its own funds but will seek a budget for investing in target destinations such as Myanmar to prepare for the kick-off of the Asean Economic Community.
A ministry source said IEAT was eyeing Kunming in China, Dawei and Myawaddy in Myanmar, and Cambodia.
VAT graft probe 
The Finance Ministry is expediting a probe into the suspected involvement of Revenue Department officials in corrupt activities that caused the loss of Bt4 billion in value-added taxes.
The alleged activities involved the setting up of a dummy company to buy and sell goods. The practice began last year, Deputy Finance Minister Benja Louichareon said yesterday. 
The ministry intends to investigate this in depth in order to expose the gang leader and prevent this from happening again, she said. 
High-ranking insiders within the Revenue Department with extensive knowledge of the value-added tax, tax-system loopholes and the tax-auditing process of the department are very likely involved, she said. 
Benja, who was once a director-general of the Revenue Department, had warned of the VAT loopholes that are susceptible to corruption, but no measures were implemented to minimise or eliminate such risks. 
Every company in this VAT corruption scheme actually exists, all purchasing orders and receipts are there, including the shipping documents, but the goods for delivery do not exist. When the VAT refunds are received, they close down the company immediately, she added. 
Airport capacity
Airports of Thailand expects Suvarnabhumi Airport to serve more than 50 million passengers in the fiscal year ending September, surpassing its rated capacity of 45 million.
Rawewan Netrakavesna, director of the airport, said yesterday that from October to last month, the airport welcomed 38.2 million passengers, down 2.8 per cent from the same period last year, after the move of Thai AirAsia to Don Mueang Airport. 
The decline was offset by the surge in passengers of other airlines. Traffic is expected to continue to rise. 
AOT has accelerated the development of Suvarnabhumi’s second phase, which will increase its capacity to 60 million passengers. 
Construction is set to commence in August next year and finish in 2017.