FOX NETWORKS Asia, a global entertainment and sports content distributor, has put Bangkok Bank on its blacklist for future business agreements with local partners after Thailand’s biggest bank failed to honour guarantees it issued for CTH and GMM Grammy.
“We have zero confidence in dealing with Bangkok Bank particularly related to unconditional bank guarantees issued for the two pay-TV operators,” Zubin Gandevia, president for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East for Fox Networks Group, said yesterday
“Our company had sent 20 letters to Bangkok to remind Bangkok Bank about this matter last year but no feedback until now.”
Gandevia also said Fox was still committed to investing in the Thai market by expanding its content distribution network via various platforms including digital free-TV stations, Internet Protocol TV and local cable TV operators, as well as its core partners in the subscription-based TV business such as True Visions.
“However, we have to be more cautious in dealing with business activities in the Kingdom regarding this dispute. Bangkok Bank is now on our blacklist,” he said.
For future projects, Fox might encourage its local partners to use other financial institutions.
According to the company, two separate bank guarantees securing payments for distribution of its channels in Thailand by GMM Grammy and CTH were unconditional agreements issued by Bangkok Bank.
Fox signed separate channel-licensing agreements with GMM Grammy and CTH in 2013 to deliver entertainment and sports programmes to Thai viewers via pay-TV services run separately by GMM Grammy and CTH.
Gandevia showed the press two separate copies of the bank guarantee issued by Bangkok Bank.
In the bank guarantee for CTH, if CTH failed to pay the licence fee under its sub-licensing contract with Fox, the payment guarantee is required to be submitted to Fox in the amount of Bt2.01 billion.
In GMM’s case, the payment guarantee is required to be paid to Fox in the sum of US$50 million or Bt1.8 billion.
Both CTH and GMM Grammy paid Fox for some time, but they have $71 million outstanding on the contracts.
“We had been waiting for a response from the bank for 10 months. Unfortunately, we saw no sign of good faith,” he said.
Last week, Fox said in a statement that it sued Bangkok Bank and CTH in Hong Kong and the bank and GMM Grammy in Bangkok for Bt2.5 billion plus interest for allegedly failing to honour the two guarantees.
GMM Grammy and Bangkok Bank counterclaimed that Fox was in breach of contract regarding content distribution.