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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        15  January 2011

Thai Airways to pay bonus

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Thai Airways International plans to pay its employees a bonus of three months' salary, costing 4.25 billion baht, president Piyasvasti Amranand said yesterday.

The national carrier expects to report record earnings for 2010, after earning a net profit of 12.4 billion baht (7.25 baht a share) in the first nine months. It lost 1.57 billion baht in the first nine months of 2009.

The THAI board yesterday also approved a plan first announced last year to order 37 new aircraft to replace ageing planes and expand routes. The approval is part of a long-term plan to increase its fleet to 105 aircraft by the end of 2017.

The airline said it expected revenue to increase by an average of 7-10% annually between 2011 and 2017, it said.

As well, directors approved a plan to buy an additional 10 percent stake in the budget carrier Nok Air for 150 million baht if state-owned Krung Thai Bank agrees to the price. The share price was not disclosed, but the decision represents a reversal by the board, which said in December it would not pursue a deal with KTB because the bank wanted too high a price. KTB in October offered to sell its shares to THAI for 44 baht apiece.

THAI said at the time that it was prepared to pay 65 million baht for KTB's holdings, while the bank valued the stake at 220 million.

The purchase would lift THAI's stake in Nok Air to 49 percent. The board also approved a plan to secure short-term loans of 8 billion baht from the Government Savings Bank and CIMB Thai Bank Plc, it said.

THAI shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 45.75 baht, down 75 satang, in trade worth 419.55 million baht.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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