CPN shifts focus to Asean

BANGKOK: Central Pattana Plc (CPN), a retail developer listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, has decided to proceed with two or three foreign projects that were previously on the waiting list over concerns it may lose opportunities arising from Asean economic integration.

The top three countries CPN is looking to invest in are Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

CPN president and chief executive Kobchai Chirathivat said the company is shifting its focus to Asean instead of China because it could benefit from the launch of the Asean Economic Community in 2016.

In Malaysia, CPN will be signing a joint venture agreement with developer I-Bhd on Monday to develop a mall at i-City Shah Alam. Malaysia has high potential for retail development because incomes of Malaysians are double that of the Thais while its population is less than half of Thailand’s.

“Though we’re studying market opportunities abroad, we remain optimistic about investing in Thailand,” Kobchai said.

CPN will submit a proposal to the Crown Property Bureau in August to develop its largest ever project on Rama IV Road in Bangkok. The mixed use development would cover 500,000 sq m.

The massive project will require several billion baht and CPN may seek partners to jointly develop it.

“We have huge opportunities to develop new projects here because the Thai economy continues to grow every year,” Kobchai said.

After the Asean economic integration, many foreign companies wishing to expand to Indochina may set up their headquarters in Thailand, he said, adding that this will lead to the Thais earning more, as well as create a high demand for foreign workers.

Last week, CPN announced plans to spend 7 billion baht (RM707 million) to develop two new shopping complexes — Central Festival Samui in Koh Samui  costing 3.1 billion baht, and the 3.9 billion baht Central Plaza Salaya in Nakhon Pathom province.

CPN expects the new projects to drive its revenue growth by 15% per year. — Bangkok Post


This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 10, 2013.

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