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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           24   August  2011

Thai retail firm looks to AEC

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Central Pattana Plc (CPN), the SET-listed retail developer, is assessing Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam as potential markets to tap for maximum benefits from the Asean Economic Community (AEC) after 2015.

Kobchai Chirathivat, the president and chief executive, said CPN would reconsider investing in these countries again, as the AEC will place all Asean markets under the same trade regulations. "We're studying the market and expect to open at least one project by 2015," he said.

Budget and investment details for the international projects have not been disclosed, and it is not yet known whether CPN will invest on its own or find strategic partners.

It will, however, consider whether to buy land for developing fresh projects or take over existing ventures.

CPN has experience in both new developments and renovation. Previous retail renovations have included CentralWorld, CentralPlaza Rattanathibet and Central Bang Na.

Asean currently has two giant retail developers - the Philippines-based SM Prime Holdings with 40 shopping centres and Singapore's CapitalLand with 70.

"We're not afraid of foreign retailers entering Thailand under the AEC. Thai retailers and other business owners have the experience it takes to stay in the market, as evidenced by the 1997 economic crisis," said Mr Kobchai.

Next Sunday's reopening of CentralPlaza Lardprao has prompted CPN to double this year's revenue growth target to 20% for a total of 10-12 billion baht.

The company is increasing its rental fees by 10 percent on average but by 15% at the Lat Phrao branch.

CPN is teaming with up with partners like Siam Commercial Bank's credit card and Thai AirAsia for more than 150 million baht worth of marketing activities.

Meanwhile, their rival, The Mall Group, is working with Citibank and Muang Thai Life Assurance to hold the "Super Power Sale" from August 26 to September 4 at The Emporium and Paragon shopping malls and all other branches of The Mall.

"This is in response to the intense end-of-month retail competition," said Chamnarn Maytaprechakul, the group's senior chief marketing officer. It expects 1.5 billion baht from the 10-day event.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   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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