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“Thai Airways will survive”. Emergency meeting next Wednesday.

Jack Burton

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“Thai Airways will survive”. Emergency meeting next Wednesday. | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TTR Weekly
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“Thai Airways will not collapse. The fact that Deputy PM Somkid stepped in to handle the issue means the government will rescue it.”

It’s no secret that Thailand’s national carrier has been a financial basket case for over a decade, bleeding money and marketshare as the years pass. The top-heavy Thai company is bailed out by the Thai government each year with continual demands for restructure and business plans that never appear to address the airlines’ fundamentally-flawed management structure.

Thai staff put together their own video (below).

Now the fate of the national carrier may finally be decided in a meeting next week chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. The government will attempt to decide the fate of the ailing carrier in a meeting of the State Enterprise Policy Commission on Wednesday, with the possibility of a shareholder restructuring to help the ailing airline stay afloat. With the Government seeking to cut budgets from all departments due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis, the annual burden of bailing out the national carrier has become more acute.

The meeting will decide the conditions and scope of rehabilitation for the bruised and battered airline. The airline has continually been told to sort out its unwieldy middle-management, ageing fleet and fare structure. The airline has been stuck with a 1990s national airline model whilst newer, more nimble, better financed and managed airlines, with younger fleets and management styles, have flown straight past the legacy airline.

Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak yesterday called urgent talks with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob and Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana to discuss whether the national flagship carrier should remain a state enterprise under the Transport Ministry, or be privatised.

Saksayam told reporters that a future share structure was not discussed at that meeting, but hinted that Thai executives had been assigned to draw up plans to resurrect the company from years of financial woes before the crucial meeting.

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PHOTO: Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak – Thai PBS World

Faith, or the lack thereof, in Thai Airways has captured headlines in recent months, with Covid-19 battering the already financially struggling airline.

Due to coronavirus outbreak, Thai was forced to enact furloughs and slash salaries. There have been unsubstantiated reports that private businesses with deep pockets might become significant new shareholders.

To quash those rumours, Somkid reportedly stepped in on Thursday and established an ad-hoc panel to find ways to revive the 60 year old carrier after a report that the Finance Ministry will have the Government Savings Bank and state-owned Krung Thai Bank’s Vayupak fund will acquire more shares.

The Ministry of Finance currently owns 51.03% of the shares, leaving 15.12% with the Vayupak 1 fund and 2.13% with the Government Savings Bank, according to Bangkok Post.

Deputy Transport Minister Thavorn Senniam says one potential plan is to have the Finance Ministry reduce its shares, allowing the Vayupak fund to increase its stake. He believes with the Vayupak fund as a major shareholder, Thai Airways will be forced to operate more efficiently like other SET-listed companies.

Thavorn ruled out rumours that private investors will become major shareholders.

“This direction is impossible as it tantamount to privatising the national carrier.”

Thavorn says other options include requesting more funding, the issuance of corporate bonds or a capital increase. He says financial experts will know which path is best for Thai to prevent it from making further losses.

“Only the PM and the cabinet can decide on the shareholder issue, but regardless of the restructuring, Thai will survive.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New rules for Thai cinemas to re-open in Phase 3

Jack Burton

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New rules for Thai cinemas to re-open in Phase 3 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Yahoo News

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of Emergency Decree restrictions enacted to fight the spread of Covid-19, cinemas will be allowed to reopen on June 1 (though many operators are unlikely to do so as food and drink are their main revenue source and the movie companies say there are currently no new movies to release…)

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has released the rules for the reopening, designed to help encourage social distancing and prevent any possible spread of the virus

The rules are…

  • No eating or drinking in the movie theatre. Patrons can eat concession food outside the viewing room, but the cinema must have a properly spaced eating area that encourages social distancing, with partitions
  • A maximum of 2 people can sit next to each other. Others must be spaced out at least 3 seats apart. People must not be seated directly in front or behind others
  • Film festivals and nonstop screenings are prohibited
  • Cinemas must be fully sanitised and cleaned after every viewing
  • Masks must be worn at all times during a film
  • Cinema staff will be asked to enforce the rules about eating, drinking and social distancing

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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Economy

Top 10 countries for investment in Covid era – World Trade Group

The Thaiger

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Top 10 countries for investment in Covid era – World Trade Group | The Thaiger

“Where to invest?”. Where is the next ‘good thing’ as the world starts to look to opportunities and new business models? Looking around the world, and perusing stock markets, there continues to be some traditional businesses failing but others thriving during the Covid-19 era.

Investors look to countries with economical and political stability when choosing to invest money and unveil new businesses. Whilst global depression, drops in GDP, bankruptcy, and a realignment of trade and supply chains swirls around us, there will be emerging opportunities too. According to London Post, CEO World Magazine and the World Trade Group, some countries are very fortified to withstand an economic crash.

“They have a lot of internal growth drivers with minimal affiliation with global markets. They will be the least affected. The best countries to invest in 2020 are these fortified countries.”

Their report lists four unique factors motivate an individual or a business entity to invest in a country. These are the country’s natural resources, markets, efficiency, and strategic assets.

The London Post has used this information and parameters to compile The 2020 Best Countries to Invest In ranking based on a broad list of ten equally weighted attributes: corruption index, tax environment, economical stability, entrepreneurial freedom, innovativeness, skilled labor force and technological expertise, infrastructure, investor protection, red tape, and quality of life.

Somehow, and perhaps surprisingly to people who run businesses in Thailand, the Land of Smiles has scraped into the Number 2 position. 4 of the recommended Top 10 countries are in south east Asia.

1. Croatia

The country’s growth is amazing because in 2019, it was ranked 25 positions lower in this list. The European country’s stable economy, coupled with an entrepreneurial and innovative population, has made foreign investors very optimistic about the “progressive business environment”. In the first quarter of 2019, Croatia had a whooping foreign direct investment of more than $389 million.

2. Thailand

Thailand occupies the second position on the 2020 Best Countries to Invest In ranking. The country has been able to capitalise on trade tension between the US and China. In the first nine months of 2019, the country received a 69% increase in the total value of Foreign Direct Investment applications, as compared to 2018. 65% of these applications were led by the automotive, electronics and electrical, and digital sectors. The growth of the Thai market and momentum indicators remain strong. Forbes listed the country as the 8th best-emerging market of 2020.

3. The United Kingdom

The UK is economically stable and has a skilled labour force and technological expertise. It is the sixth country attracting inflow of foreign direct investment. In the first 7 months of 2019, the US and Asian tech firms invested $3.7 billion in tech companies in the country, thus surpassing the $2.9 billion invested in the previous year.

“Despite Brexit, the UK remains the fifth largest economy in the world and has an industrialised and competitive market.”

4. Indonesia

With about 650 listed equities and a market cap exceeding $500 billion, Indonesia boasts of one of the largest Asian stock markets. The report claims the Indonesian consumer market is largely undiscovered, hence its huge potentials.

“The robust economy and heavy investment in transportation and infrastructure make this country worthy of your investment. The only downside is that non-citizens are limited to only leasehold properties.”

5. India

According to the UN, India was one of the top 10 countries with the highest inflow of foreign direct investment. India has been in the top 5 of the best countries to invest in since 2019.

“The Asian giant has invested so much in research and development and, and she is among the top countries having a comparatively skilled workforce.”

6. Italy

Italy is one of the top countries attracting investors in 2020. This level of economical stability, its robust manufacturing sector, and the country’s stable political environment make it a good choice for investment.

7. Australia

Australia boasts of more than 25 years of continued economic growth. It is the 9th country with the most direct foreign investment in 2020. Australia has been in the top 10 for ten years now.

8. Vietnam

Like Thailand, Vietnam has capitalised on the trade tension between China and the US.In recent years China’s southern neighbour has gradually risen to become a formidable manufacturing hub. This growth became even more evident when multinational corporations like Samsung began relocating are from China into Vietnam.

9. Latvia

Latvia boasts of macroeconomic and political stability as well as good accessibility to large markets and a very business-friendly environment, according to the report. The government encourages investors by offering them a wide variety of advantages. Investors are offered significant cost advantages, including real estate expenses, competitive tax rates, and competitive labor.

10. Singapore

Aside from being the 10th best country to invest in 2020, Singapore is also the 10th country attracting the most foreign investments. Singapore’s strong economic outlook has made many investors very optimistic. The country’s world-class business-friendly environment is one major attribute attracting investors.

SOURCE: London Post

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Expats

Foreigners with work permits to be allowed back into Thailand on case by case basis

Jack Burton

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Foreigners with work permits to be allowed back into Thailand on case by case basis | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Foreigners with work permits or permission from the Labour Ministry (and other some other government agencies) will be allowed to enter the country after registration, under phase 3 of the lockdown relaxation, which begins Monday. The Foreign Ministry made the announcement today.

The Foreign Ministry has told Thailand’s foreign chambers of commerce about the relaxation. Eligible foreign nationals are invited to apply at Thai Embassies in their home countries. They must have health insurance covering Covid-19 treatment valued at at least 3 million baht and a health certificate. They will also be subject to 14 day quarantine on entry to Thailand, either in a state facility or in a private facility, at their own cost.

“Permission to enter does not cover all groups as, we are proceeding step by step.”

Here are the details of the letter sent to all foreign chambers of commerce in Thailand…

1. The Royal Thai Government’s invocation of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations BE2548 (2005) (No I) dated 25 March BE2563 (2020) to control the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19), closes the entry into the Kingdom of non-Thai nationals, in accordance with the laws on communicable diseases and immigration. However, clause 3 of the Regulation issued under the said Emergency Decree, also allows non-Thai nationals who either possess a valid work permit or have already been granted permission from a Thai government agency to work in the Kingdom, to apply for permission to enter the Kingdom.

2. It is, however, requested that only those in urgent need to enter the Kingdom submit an application for entry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in consultation with the Board of Investment and the Ministry of Labour, will consider all requests for entry on a case by case basis, taking into account urgency and economic importance, among others.

3. The procedure for non-Thai nationals who wish to submit an application for entry are as follows:

3.1 Contact the Royal Thai Embassy or the Royal Thai Consulate-General in their country of departure to apply for ‘Certificate of Entry into the Kingdom of Thailand” at least 10 working days before the date of intended departure. The applicants must present:

(1) a copy of his work permit or copy of a letter of permission issued by a Thai Government agency (in most cases, by the Ministry of Labour) to work in Thailand;

(2) a valid health insurance policy covering all expenditures of medical treatment, including Covid-19 worth at least 100,000 US dollars.

3.2 The Thai Embassy/Consulate-General will forward the application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok. If the application is approved, the Thai Embassy/Consulate-General will be instructed to issue the “Certificate of Entry into the Kingdom of Thailand” and appropriate visa to the applicant.

4. At the port of departure/embarkation (eg airline check-in counter), the approved applicant is required to present (I) a “Certificate of Entry into the Kingdom of Thailand” issued by the Royal Thai Embassy Consulate-General; (II) a completed and signed “Declaration Form” obtained from the Embassy/Consulate-General; (III) a “Fit to Fly Health Certificate” issued no more than 72 hours before departure; and (IV) health insurance covering all expenditures of medical treatment, including Covid-19, while traveling to Thailand in an amount of at least 100,000 US dollars.

5. Upon entry into the Kingdom, non-Thai nationals will be subjected to a 14-day state quarantine at a government-designated Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility at their own expenses, and obliged to comply with the government’s disease prevention measures pursuant to clause 11 of the Regulation issued under Section 9 of the said Emergency Decree.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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