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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     10 November  2011

Floods hit big brewer

Floods have cost Thai Beverage Plc (ThaiBev), the country's leading beer and spirits maker, several billion baht, the biggest financial loss for US$whisky billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi in more than a decade.

Three areas are affected: tangible assets, loss of business continuity and loss of new business opportunities both at home and abroad.

Five factories in Ayutthaya province will take at least a year to restore.

Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, ThaiBev's president and chief executive, said 2.3 billion baht worth of the damage comes from the main plant of the Oishi Group, its non-alcoholic beverage subsidiary, in Pathum Thani's Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate.

That factory has been flooded since October 17. Water has destroyed the bottling equipment on the ground floor, and restoration will take up to six months.

A brewery in Ayutthaya's Bang Ban district and a drinking water plant in Wang Noi district have also been isolated by the floodwater.

Beverage transport from Ayutthaya to Bangkok has slowed to a crawl, taking up to six to eight hours after only two hours pre-crisis.

Delivery from ThaiBev's Kamphaeng Phet factory to Bangkok has risen to 10 hours from 61/2 hours before.

However, shortages of drinking water and beer are improving after ThaiBev met with modern retailers about allowing direct deliveries to their logistics hubs.

ThaiBev has moved its sales and logistics sites to Chon Buri province from Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok's Laksi district to avoid flood problems.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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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.

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