Ichitan casts gaze abroad as local market bloated

Ichitan casts gaze abroad as local market bloated

Tan Passakornnatee, chief executive of Ichitan Group (right), with Yuke
Tan Passakornnatee, chief executive of Ichitan Group (right), with Yuke "Son" Songpaisan (centre) and Seo Ji-yeon promote Ichitan's new marketing campaign.

SET-listed Ichitan Group Plc is exploring new market opportunities in Asean, aiming to increase its revenue abroad by five times this year as the local ready-to-drink green tea market is saturated.

Chief executive Tan Passakornnatee said the company has separated its overseas business unit from the marketing division to expand in global markets, particularly Asean.

The company started exporting its Ichitan ready-to-drink green tea to Indonesia last year and recently expanded its business to Laos.

It has surveyed the ready-to-drink green tea market in Myanmar and expects to appoint a local trading company over there to distribute its Ichitan green tea and Yen Yen herbal drink in June.

Ichitan expects its green tea and herbal drink will be available throughout major countries in Asean this year.

"We have to put more effort into export markets because the ready-to-drink green tea market in Thailand has been saturated the past three years and cannot grow much. We're interested in Myanmar because of its population size and Myanmar people are familiar with Thai products," Mr Tan said.

It also plans to aggressively expand in existing markets like Indonesia, starting with an marketing campaign this summer. It expects sales from overseas to reach 500 million baht this year, up from 100 million last year.

For Thailand, Ichitan is considering launching new herbal product lines to cash in on the continuing health trend. New brands such as Yen Yen and Bireley's are likely to be offered here, with 800 million baht allocated for promotion this year.

Yesterday the company announced a new marketing campaign for the green tea market this summer. It will spend 120 million baht on the "Ichitan Exclusive Japan Trip with 40 Superstars" campaign.

Sales of Ichitan are expected to reach 7.45 billion baht this year. Of the total, about 60% of revenue is from ready-to-drink green tea, 30% herbal drinks and 4% from Bireley's.

In related news, Jesdakorn Ghosh, senior vice-president for the beverage division at Oishi Group Plc, said Thailand's ready to-drink green tea market is expected to be flat this year because of heavy competition. The market is worth about 15 billion baht and Oishi controls a 47.4% market share, aiming to reach 50% this year.

Shares of ICHI closed unchanged yesterday on the SET at 10.50 baht in trade worth 7.1 million baht. Shares of OISHI closed at 130 baht, down one baht, in trade worth 4.48 million.

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