Dhanarak to purchase land abroad for embassies

Amid the economic crises in Europe and the US, the Treasury Department's property management arm plans to buy cheap properties abroad next year.

Adul Thangsattapirom, acting president of Dhanarak Asset Development Co Ltd, said the move follows the cabinet's recent resolution that Dhanarak should buy property in foreign countries to be developed as Thai embassy offices instead of leasing.

"The expenses for Thai embassy leases rise every year, but property prices are distressed in many areas. Now is the right time to buy these assets," said Mr Adul.

Initially, Dhanarak, 99.99% owned by the Finance Ministry, will focus on buying land in Russia and Europe, especially in those countries with a sovereign debt crisis where property is likely to be cheaper.

Dhanarak can either buy land or buildings, he added.

In Russia, where the Moscow landlord is offering a renewal contract to the Thai embassy three times higher than the previous contract, Dhanarak is considering buying land and building an embassy complex.

In other news, Mr Adul discussed the development of the Bangkok Fish Market on Charoen Krung Road, as the cabinet assigned Dhanarak to renovate and modernise the market's design and trading system to be compatible with fresh seafood markets in other countries.

"We plan to use Japan's fresh seafood market as our model for development," said Mr Adul.

But the Fish Marketing Organisation (FMO), the operator and manager of the fish market, disagreed with Dhanarak, preferring the design and system of Australia's fish market.

Mr Adul said despite the disagreement, following construction it will allow the FMO to rent its property and operate as in the past. The project is scheduled to be completed next year.

Dhanarak is a company set up in 1994 by the Treasury Department to oversee the 24-billion-baht new civil-service complex project on Chaeng Watthana Road and to develop and manage other state assets as assigned by the government.

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Writer: Wichit Chantanusornsiri
Position: Business Reporter