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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        25  February 2011

Singha to market rice, oil

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Thailand's Singha Corporation, the 78-year-old brewer, has joined with Asia Golden Rice, the country's largest rice exporter, to market its own packed rice in both domestic and international markets.

Singha wants to increase its strength in non-alcoholic product businesses, which will generate sales of up to 30 percent of its total over the next five years, a rise from 10-12 percent currently.

The joint venture, Mahasarn Enterprise Ltd, was recently set up with registered capital of 500 million baht, with each company holding an equal stake.

Sant Bhirom Bhakdi, the group's marketing director for non-alcoholic products, said Mahasarn had invested 300 million baht to set up its rice mill on a 30-rai plot in Bang Pakong district in Chachoengsao. It produces 1,000 tonnes of packed rice per day.

Pun Dee brand packed rice was launched last year through various distribution centres from traditional trade to modern trade, restaurants and Boon Rawd's network across the country. Mahasarn Enterprise will handle marketing for Pun Dee while Boon Rawd Asia will look after product distribution.

Initially Pun Dee will be distributed in the domestic market with sales projected to reach 900 million to 1 billion baht. After it reaches that level, the company will export via Boon Rawd's sales network in Europe, the US and Asia.

Apart from packed rice, the company plans to make other products such as rice bran cooking oil in the near future.

Asia Golden has contracted for two rice farms with a combined 10,000 rai in Ubon Ratchathani for jasmine rice and Chai Nat for white rice.

Mr. Sant said the company decided to expand into packed rice because the market is large with a value of 40-50 billion baht per year.

Moreover, the company's partner has been in the rice business for three decades and exports 1.5 million tonnes of rice per year to 60 countries. Thailand exports about 9 million tonnes per year.

Mr. Sant said the company hoped to become the country's second-largest packed rice distributor over the next three years with a 10 percent market share. Charoen Pokphand Group's Royal Umbrella packed rice brand is the market leader with a 16 percent share, followed by Mah Boonkrong and Hong Thong, with a market share of 5-10 percent each.

Sales of Singha Corp are expected to reach 100 billion baht this year, with 10 percent coming from non-alcoholic products including soda worth 6 billion baht, and drinking water and functional drinks worth 4 billion.

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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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