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NEWS UPDATES 7 August 2010

Big Thai retailer moves ahead

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Central Pattana Plc (CPN), the developer of CentralWorld that was severely damaged by an arson attack stemming from May political protests is speeding up the renovation of its shopping mall and the redevelopment of the adjacent Zen department store. The exterior of Zen and CentralWorld will remain the same but renovations will improve the interior atmosphere, CPN officials said.

The renovation and redevelopment work is worth 2.8 billion baht. Currently, more than 350 tenants are able to re-enter the site to redecorate their shops. CentralWorld is scheduled to reopen by the end of next month, said Kobchai Chirathivat, president and CEO of CPN.

The company has been approved by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Public Works Department to renovate Southeast Asia's largest shopping mall with 550,000 square metres of retail space.

The first phase opens at the end of Septemberand includes 80 percent of total mall space. The second phase on the sixth and seventh floors, will reopen between November and December this year. The third phase, Zen and adjacent areas, will be finished by the end of August 2011. Innovative designs on a par with the world's leading shopping complexes.

Earlier, CentralWorld outlined a four-point assistance plan for its tenants. It includes helping tenants to bring back customers, finding alternative sales outlets until CentralWorld reopens, providing financial assistance, and making rental contracts flexible.

As part of the assistance programme, CPN said it would not collect rents from April this year until its tenants can open their shops again. Tenants can get their contracts extended to compensate for time lost during the renovation period.

CPN shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 23.30 baht, up 30 satang, in trade worth 69.1 million baht.

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