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Sathorn still hot for condos

Posted by arnon_k On November - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Amid worries about the condominium market, two new projects will be launched in the Sathorn area this month with a combined 202 units, mostly large ones targeted at families and foreigners.
Both are being developed by long-established firms _ one has built other condominiums nearby, while the other has focused on single houses and townhouses in Bangkok’s outskirts and the surrounding provinces.

The Maple Sathorn is being developed by the Baan Boonsiri Group, which earlier had four low-rise projects worth a combined 450 million baht in Prachin Buri, Rayong, Nonthaburi and Bangkok.

Supreme Team Co Ltd is developing its Parco project with 148 units from 63-229 square metres priced from 96,000 baht per sq m on two rai located on Nang Linchi Road.

The Parco project has already booked presales of more than 30%, said Watana Charoensakwatana, the Supreme Team’s deputy managing director.

Worawan Tuchinda, the managing director of St Louise Development Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the Baan Boonsiri Group, said The Maple Sathorn is the group’s first condominium development.

The company bought a disused 10-year-old serviced apartment building early this year for 200 million baht and spent another 50 million baht to renovate it into condos to be sold for more than 300 million baht.

“If we were to start the project from scratch, we’d have to spend up to 400 million baht to develop it on a similar scale,” said Ms Worawan.

The project, with 54 units, is located on 500 square wah in Soi Narathiwat 10, where land prices now start at 300,000 baht a square wah.

Unit sizes range from 60-200 sq m priced from 59,900 baht per sq m, cheaper than other offerings in the neighbourhood priced from 80,000 baht.

Target groups are families, parents of students at nearby schools and people working in the Sathorn area.

The Maple Sathorn has sold 30% of the units, mostly large ones.

Ms Worawan said the new requirement capping loan sizes has affected the condominium market. Her company is waiting to see if any more measures are coming, and if so, what further impact they will make.

“If new measures result in no or minimal changes, we’ll proceed with future condo development. But if they worsen the situation, we’ll switch to townhouses or home offices instead,” she said.

The Baan Boonsiri Group plans to launch at least two low-rise projects a year, as condominiums take longer to complete. It has a one-rai plot in the Sutthisan area that may be developed into condos or townhouses. A decision will be made next year.The company is also in talks with landlords to buy a six-rai plot in the Meng Jai area, off of Ratchadaphisek Road, for 100 million baht to develop 70 townhouses worth 300 million baht.

Gold prices for Wednesday

Posted by arnon_k On November - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS


The Gold Traders Association this morning announced the buying price at 18,677.12 baht per baht-weight for gold ornaments and 18,950 baht per baht-weight for gold bar.

The selling prices were set at 19,450 baht per baht-weight for gold ornaments, and 19,050 baht per baht-weight for gold bar

Tesco remains committed to Thailand

Posted by arnon_k On November - 16 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The UK retailer Tesco Group is committed to continuing its investment in Thailand despite political uncertainties.
“I arrived in Bangkok about two to three weeks before the political unrest took place in May. Whatever the local politics, we’re confident of further investment here. Our record shows we have invested in Thailand in both good and bad times,” said Chris Bush, the newly-appointed CEO of Tesco Lotus Thailand.

He admitted the political turmoil hurt his hypermarket business from March to May. However, operations returned to normal after that and the Thai economy is now performing very strongly as consumer confidence has recovered.

Tesco has invested 100 billion baht since entering the Kingdom in 1998. The company will spend about 7 billion baht this year to build new stores, refresh existing stores, hire more staff and offer innovative services to local consumers.

Mr Bush has worked for Tesco Group for 28 years, including in Malaysia and South Korea in the past four years before moving to Thailand on April 19.

“In Thailand, my challenge is to better understand local customers, listen and respond to their demands as well as move quicker than anybody to serve them,” Mr Bush said.

He plans to offer new retail choices to Thai customers including online shopping in the future.

Mr Bush said about 100 retail stores including hypermarkets and Tesco Express have been affected by the recent widespread flooding.

“During the initial flooding, we saw a drop in sales particularly in non-food categories. However, this was soon offset by an increase of commodities sales as consumers panicked to ensure they had enough food for their families,” he said.

Mr Bush plans to work closely with the government to help rehabilitate farm areas affected by the floods. It will send technical staff to work with civil servants and volunteer staff on some projects.

In another development, Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat Co, the operator of Siam Center and Siam Discovery, will complete the renovation of Siam Centre next month and Siam Discovery in January.

After renovation, about 20% of merchandise at Siam Centre will be different. More products from both local and international brands will be offered under the concept of ‘Only @ Siam Center’.

“We hope our facelift will increase visitors by 50%,” she said.

Chiranun Poopat, senior vice-president for merchandising of Central Food Retail Co, the operator of Tops supermarket, said the company will spend 60 million baht to promote its gift basket campaign.

“The gift basket market this year is expected to grow by 10% to 830 million baht with about a 40% market share belonging to Tops,” she said.

Big C wins bid for Carrefour business in Thailand

Posted by arnon_k On November - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS


Carrefour announces today the signing of an agreement with Big C Supercentre Plc, a subsidiary of Groupe Casino in Thailand, for the divestment of its operations in Thailand for an enterprise value of 868 million euro.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

This valuation corresponds to 120 per cent of the net sales of the business that is being sold and a multiple of 13.0 x EBITDA.

In a statement, Carrefour said that the decision to sell its operations in Thailand is part of its strategy to focus its resources on markets where it holds a leadership position and optimize its capital employed. Carrefour’s growth prospects in Thailand did not allow the Group to envisage occupying a leading position in this market in the medium- or long-term.

Present in Thailand since 1996, Carrefour operates 42 stores including 34 hypermarkets (7 in full

ownership).

Carrefour is the fifth-biggest player in organized food distribution in Thailand with a market

share of 6 per cent, net sales of 723 million euro and EBITDA of 67 million euro over a twelve-month period to 30 June 2010.

Big C is the second hypermarket operator in Thailand, with a portfolio of 69 hypermarkets and net sales of 1.7 billion euro over a twelve-month period to June 2010.

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