Saha firms in B2.4bn expansion

Saha firms in B2.4bn expansion

Group makes foray into tourism sector

Two Saha Group subsidiaries, Thai Wacoal Plc and President Bakery Plc, have announced a combined 2.4-billion-baht investment to expand domestically and in Asean this year.

Thai Wacoal, the maker of Wacoal lingerie, is spending 900 million baht, the biggest outlay in its 46-year history.

Boondee Amnuayskul, the company's chief executive, said Thai Wacoal recently set up a joint venture called G Tech Material to handle raw materials for lingerie.

Wacoal Corporation of Japan and its two partners together hold a 60% stake in G Tech Material, with Saha Pathana Interholding Plc and Thai Wacoal owning 19% each and Boonsithi Chokwatana, chairman of Saha Group, holding 2%.

"With the move, we will become the world's largest raw material supplier for Wacoal lingerie in the future," Mr Boondee said.

"With this, our sales will grow by 10-fold from 4 billion baht last year."

Thai Wacoal makes 20 million pieces of lingerie a year to serve the domestic market and exports to the rest of Asia as well as the US. Thai-made lingerie will be exported to Europe in the near future when Wacoal Corporation can make its presence in that market.

Thai Wacoal is also building a lingerie factory in Myanmar, which is due to start production in September. The output from the Myanmar facility will serve the Thai market and be exported worldwide in the long term.

Meanwhile, Petcharat Anantawichai, director and senior manager of accounting and finance at President Bakery Plc, said the company is interested in setting up a factory in an Asean country to increase its export sales, which currently account for only 1% of total sales.

Vietnam and Cambodia are two potential choices. If the plan is finalised, the company will spend about 1 billion baht on the new Asean factory.

In the second half of this year, the company will spend about 1.5 billion baht to install new machines at its factory in Bangkok's Bang Chan district to expand production. Its revenue will grow by 9% from 7 billion baht last year.

Teerada Ambhanwong, managing director of O.C.C. Plc, the cosmetics marketing arm of Saha Group, yesterday set up a joint venture called Mayflower Saha Thailand with 10 million baht in registered capital to operate an integrated tourism business in Thailand.

Mayflower Travel Group, a leading travel service operator in Malaysia with 56 years of experience, holds a 49% stake in the joint venture and 51% belongs to Saha Group.

Initially, the new company will provide corporate travel, airline and hotel reservations for individuals and organisations and will later expand to provide other services.

"It's the first time Saha Group has expanded into the tourism business," Mrs Teerada said, adding that the company expects 66 million baht in revenue in the first year of operation.

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