What's new in business news: March 3, 2015

What's new in business news: March 3, 2015

Court voids foreign-held real estate leases, US auto giant General Motors cutting Thai output, jobs & two new cruise liner ports planned.

A panoramic view of Phuket city, its bungalows, resorts and residential properties from the top of Phao Rang mountain. (Bangkok Post photo)

REAL ESTATE

Court voids foreign-held real estate leases

Phuket News

In a shock decision by the Phuket Civil Court, backed by the Region 8 Appellate Court, it has been ruled that the so-called "secured leases" offered by some real estate developers to allow foreigners to secure a cast-iron 90-year lease are not valid. The case is now to go to the Supreme Court. The courts’ decision may even mean that the original underlying 30-year lease, even if registered with the Land Office, may be void — meaning it never existed, leaving the foreign buyer of real estate in Thailand with essentially nothing.

Shopping mall models of luxury properties aimed at foreigners might become less enticing if the Supreme Court upholds rulings of two Phuket courts voiding all “secured” leases. (Bangkok Post photo)

As a general rule, foreigners cannot own land and apartment units in Thailand but it is possible for foreigners to lease them and that is the reason why real estate is commonly marketed to foreign buyers as a lease. Under Thai law, the maximum lease term is 30 years, which may be renewed upon expiration of that term.

The leases marketed to foreigners typically provide for an initial 30-year term plus two additional successive 30-year renewal terms. However, the renewal of a lease in Thailand is by no means assured even if it is provided for in the original lease agreement.  In order to overcome this issue, the idea of a "secured" lease was devised and marketed to foreigners. This is meant to ensure that the lease is renewed, twice, as originally agreed. The way this "security" is supposedly provided is by the buyer not only entering into a lease agreement with the Thai company that owns the developer’s land/apartment, but also entering into a share-sale-and-purchase agreement for shares that control the Thai company that owns the developer’s land/apartment. Now, however, two Thai courts have concluded that the secured lease is "void" as a matter of law.

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AUTOMOTIVE

Auto giant General Motors cutting Thai output & jobs

27/02/2015
Reuters

The US car company General Motors said on Friday that it would phase out production of its Chevrolet Sonic cars in Thailand by midyear and lay off workers at its Rayong factory. The announcement came a day after the US-based automaker said that it would stop making GM-branded cars in Indonesia. While GM will still sell cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze sedan in parts of Southeast Asia, the company is shifting its focus to push its sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick ups such as the Trailblazer and Colorado. The company also said it would withdraw its participation in Thailand's eco-car Phase 2 programme.

The company restructuring marks a retrenchment in Asia by General Motors. While business grows in China, the world's biggest car market, GM has struggled outside of China. The factory in Rayong will be scaled down from its current annual capacity of 180,000 vehicles. The company said it would initiate a "voluntary separation programme" for staff, 3,200 people in Thailand.

In Thailand, GM sold close to 26,000 vehicles last year, giving it a 3% market share, but the combined market share of major Japanese rivals was more than 60%. GM said it would phase out sales of the Spin and the Sonic in Thailand by June. After 80 years in Indonesia, GM's market share is below 1%. It sold fewer than 11,000 vehicles there last year, while Toyota sold more than 578,000. Toyota and other Japanese makers together control more than 90% of the Indonesian market. The overhaul in Indonesia and Thailand follows GM's 2013 retreat from car production in Australia, and industry analysts now expect GM to restructure its manufacturing operations in South Korea, a big production hub for the US firm.

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TOURISM

Two new cruise liner ports planned

Two new cruise liner ports are to be built in southern Thailand, one in Krabi and the other in Surat Thani, with an international yacht show also planned for the beginning of the high season for tourism in November this year. Currently, Phuket, Laem Chabang and Bangkok all have cruise liner ports.

The number of tourists arriving in Thailand aboard cruise liners was capped at about 100,000 annually because of limited capacities of existing cruise liner ports, and some cruise liners had to dock at cargo ports.

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Vocabulary

  • aim: to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย
  • allow: to let somebody/something do something; to let something happen or be done - อนุญาต, ยอมรับ
  • analyst: a person whose job involves examining facts or materials in order to give an opinion on them - นักวิเคราะห์
  • announcement: a spoken or written statement that informs people about something - การประกาศ
  • annual: happening once a year - ประจำปี
  • annually: happening every year - ทุกๆปีด
  • apartment (noun): a set of rooms for living in that is part of a large building - ห้องชุด, อพาร์ทเมนท์
  • back: to support - ให้การสนับสนุน
  • based: where the main work of an organisation, business, etc. is done or controlled - ซึ่งเป็นศูนย์กลาง
  • brand: a type of product made by a particular company - ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
  • cap: an upper limit on an amount of money that can be spent or borrowed - ขีดสูงสุด, ครอบ
  • capacity: the amount of something that can be produced - ความสามารถในการ (ผลิต)
  • capacity: the total amount or number that can be handled or contained - ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้
  • cargo: things that are being sent by ship, plane, train or truck - สินค้าที่บรรทุกและจัดส่งโดยเรือ เครื่องบินหรือรถไฟ
  • case: a matter that is being officially investigated or heard by a court - คดี
  • cast-iron: strong -
  • combined: counted together - รวมกัน
  • commonly (adverb): ordinarily, generally - อย่างธรรมดา
  • court: the place where legal trials take place and where crimes, etc. are judged - ศาล
  • cruise: a journey on a ship for pleasure, especially one that involves visiting a series of places - การเดินทางท่องเที่ยว
  • current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน
  • decision (noun): a choice or judgement that you make after thinking and talking about what is the best thing to do - การตัดสินใจ
  • developer (noun): real estate developer, a person or company that builds new "real estate developments" including buildings, houses, shopping centers, etc - นักพัฒนาที่ดิน
  • dock (verb): to arrive at an enclosed area of water in a port, where ships stay; to stop a boat at a landing point such as a pier - จอดเรือ, เทียบท่า
  • eco-car (noun): "a green vehicle or environmentally friendly vehicle is a road motor vehicle that produces less harmful impacts to the environment than ... vehicles running on gasoline or diesel" (Source: Wikipedia) -
  • elaborate: to add more information to or explain something that you have said - อธิบายเพิ่มเติม
  • employ: to have someone work or do a job for you and pay them for it - ว่าจ้าง, จ้าง
  • entice: persuade someone to do something by offering them something pleasant - ล่อใจ
  • essentially: for the most part - ที่สำคัญที่สุด
  • executive: a senior manager in a business or other organisation - ผู้บริหาร
  • exist: to be real; to be present in a place or situation - มีอยู่
  • existing (adj): present now; in use now; used now - ที่มีอยู่
  • expiration: the end of a time when something is safe or allowed to be used - การหมดอายุ
  • firm: a business or company - บริษัท
  • focus: the thing or person that people are most interested in - จุดสนใจ, จุดสำคัญ, จุดหลัก
  • general: for most cases and situations - โดยทั่วไป, โดยปกติ, ส่วนมาก
  • high season (noun): the time of year when demand is highest for something such as tourism in an area -
  • hub: the central or main part of something where there is most activity - จุดศูนย์กลาง
  • initiate: to start something or make it start - ริเริ่ม
  • international: connected with or involving two or more countries - นานาชาติ, สากล, ระหว่างประเทศ
  • lay off: to cause someone to lose their job, usually because there is not enough work for them to do - การปลดคนงาน
  • lease: a legal agreement in which you pay money in order to use a building, piece of land, vehicle, etc. for a period of time - สัญญาเช่า
  • limited: not much or enough; not very great in amount or extent - จำกัด
  • liner (noun): a large ship that carries passengers - เรือที่เดินทางประจำเส้นทาง
  • luxury: the best and most expensive of something - ที่หรูหรา 
  • major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก
  • manufacturing (noun): making and producing a product - การผลิต
  • market share (noun): the percentage of sales that a company has in a market or industry compared to total sales - เปอร์เซ็นต์การขายสินค้า, ส่วนแบ่งตลาด
  • maximum: the most possible - ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด
  • model: a simple description of a system, used for explaining how something works or calculating what might happen, etc - แบบจำลอง
  • offer (verb): to make something available or to provide the opportunity for something - ให้, เสนอ
  • operations: the activity or work done in an area of business or industry - ปฎิบัติการ
  • original: existing at the beginning of a particular period, process or activity - ซึ่งเป็นแบบฉบับ, ต้นกำเนิด
  • overhaul: to improve something so that every part of it works properly - ปรับปรุงใหม่
  • oversee (verb): (past form: oversaw) to watch or organise a job or an activity to make certain that it is being done correctly - คุมงาน,ควบคุม
  • participation: to take part in or become involved in an activity - การมีส่วน
  • phase out (verb): to slowly reduce and stop some activity, in several "phases" - ค่อยๆเลิก, ค่อยๆยุติ
  • port: an area of water where ships stop, including the buildings around it - ท่าเรือ
  • production: the process of making goods or materials, especially large quantities - การผลิต
  • property: a building or buildings and the surrounding land - อสังหาริมทรัพย์
  • push: to try to make something happen, make people accept and agree to something -
  • real estate: property - อสังหาริมทรัพย์
  • reason (noun): why something happened or exists - เหตุผล
  • registered (adj): to be on an official list; to be on an official list of names of people who are allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, sell something, stay in a hotel etc - ซึ่งลงทะเบียนไว้
  • renew: to add to the time something can be done or used - ต่ออายุ
  • restructure: to organise something such as a company in a different way so that it will operate better - ปรับโครงสร้างใหม่
  • retreat: to move back or away - ถอยกลับ
  • rival: a person you are competing against or opposing - คู่แข่ง
  • rule: (of a court or other group with similar authority) to make and announce a decision - ตัดสิน, พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด
  • ruling  (noun): a judgement; a decision by a court of law - คำตัดสิน คำชี้ขาด
  • scaled down (verb): made smaller; made less strong or important - ย่อส่วน, ลดลง
  • secure: safe from attack or harm - ปลอดภัย
  • secure (verb): to get or achieve something - ได้มา
  • sedan: a closed car with a front and back seat for  passengers - รถยนต์ส่วนบุคคลสี่ประตู
  • separation: a decision that a husband and wife make to live apart while they are still legally married - การแยกกันอยู่
  • shift: to change - เปลี่ยน
  • shock: to surprise, or frighten someone - ทำให้ตกใจ, ทำให้สั่นสะเทือน
  • so-called: used for saying that a particular word is usually used for referring to someone or something - ที่เป็นที่รู้กัน
  • staff: workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
  • struggle (verb): to try hard to do something that you find very difficult - พยายาม; ต่อสู้
  • supreme court: the highest court in a country - ศาลฎีกา, ศาลสูงสุด
  • term: a period of time for which something lasts; a fixed or limited time - ระยะเวลาที่กำหนด
  • underlying (adj): important in a situation but not always easily noticed or stated clearly; existing under the surface of something else - ที่สำคัญและซ่อนอยู่, ที่อยู่ในตำแหน่งต่ำกว่า
  • unit: one office or building or group of people - หนึ่งหน่วย
  • unit (noun): a business unit or subsidiary; a part of a company that does a particular activity or that is not divided into smaller parts - บริษัทลูก, บริษัทสาขา, บริษัทในเครือ
  • uphold: to defend or keep to a principle or law; to show that you support something by what you say or do - รับรอง พิทักษ์รักษา ยืนหนัด
  • valid: legally accepted or in force - ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย, อย่างมีเหตุผล
  • vehicle: a machine that you travel in or on, especially one with an engine that travels on roads, e.g., a car, bus, van, truck, etc. - ยานพาหนะ
  • void: to end something officially or by law, to invalidate - ทำให้เป็นโมฆะ
  • voided (adj): ended officially or by law, invalidated - เป็นโมฆะ
  • voluntary: done because you choose to do it rather than because you have to - ด้วยความสมัครใจ
  • withdraw: to no longer being involved in something - ถอนตัว
  • yacht: a large expensive boat that is often used for racing or sailing - เรือยอชท์, เรือท่องเที่ยว,เรือเที่ยวเล่น,เรือแข่ง
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