What's new in business news: March 31, 2014 | Bangkok Post: learning

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What's new in business news: March 31, 2014

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Central launches 3 billion baht mall on Koh Samui, Shin Corp changes name to Intouch & BOI delays lead to foreign investment delays. 

The courtyard of Centralfestival Samui shopping mall and the so-called green labyrinth at its heart. (Source: Facebook)


Central launches 3 billion baht mall on Koh Samui

The 37-rai CentralFestival Samui shopping mall opens today on Chaweng Beach on the resort island of Koh Samui.  Koh Samui has become the newest retail development for Central Pattana (CPN), the SET-listed property and retail development arm of the Central Group of Companies. Located in Chaweng, the island's main business area, Koh Samui was chosen for the company's 24th retail project because there are no other large retail complexes on the island of Koh Samui.  The 37-rai CentralFestival Samui was built at a cost of 3.1 billion baht. 

Koh Samui attracts 1.9 million tourists per year, with 80% of them foreigners and most of them coming from Europe, Australia and China.  The island has also seen dramatic growth in residential property development recently.

The mall's design features unique elements and details for Koh Samui. Its architecture is inspired by the vintage Chaweng port, which can be seen through the use of charming decorations such as bird cages. These will remind people of Samui residents’ daily lives. The mall also has Sino-Portuguese influences, showcasing colonial-style architecture. It's the first theme mall for CPN with an open-air concept, and the mall focuses on food and beverages more than other branches.

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Shin Corp changes name to Intouch

Shin Corporation Plc has officially changed its name to Intouch Holdings Plc. The telecommunication giant registered the new name and seal with the Commerce Ministry's Business Development Department on Monday. The stock symbol is INTUCH. The company's shareholders approved the change at the annual general meeting on Friday. The company rebranded itself as Intouch on July 8, 2012 with a new green logo, but the official name remained Shin Corporation.

The former Shin Corporation was founded 30 years ago by Thaksin Shinawatra as the holding company for his business empire. He sold his stock shares in 2006 to Singapore-based Temasek Group in a high-profile transaction that marked the beginning of his political downward spiral. Aspen Holding Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Temasek Holding is the largest shareholder of Intouch with 41.62%, followed by retail investors through Thai NVDR at 20.45%.

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Board of Investment (BOI) delays lead to foreign investment delays

Bloomberg News Agency

The latest casualty of Thailand’s five-month political deadlock may be foreign investment, as project approvals face delays and new investors hesitate to commit funds. Thailand has not had a functioning House of Representatives since early December, when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called an election to appease demonstrators seeking to force her from office. A vote on Feb 2 was disrupted by protests and later annulled by the courts and a new poll has not been set, leaving the caretaker government with limited powers.

The delay in project approvals by the Board of Investment (BoI) is a concern. A long delay may prompt investors to shift to other countries. Applications for investment incentives fell 58% to 63.1 billion baht in the first two months of 2014, and a new BoI board must be endorsed by the government before any major projects can be approved. The BOI is still waiting for formal approval from the Office of the Council of State, the government’s legal advisory body. So far, the signal is positive and a new BoI board should be in place within the next three months. 

So far Thailand hasn’t seen investors pull out or relocate to other countries. Thailand’s central location, strong supply-chain, skilled labour force and abundant agricultural supplies help the country maintain its attractiveness as an investment destination. Most projects approved by the BoI are export-related.

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