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Nation Multimedia Group aims to counter tech ‘disruption’

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Nation Multimedia Group aims to counter tech ‘disruption’ | The Thaiger

PHOTO: NMG group chief, Shine Bunnag

Thailand’s media giant Nation Multimedia Group say they are poised to ride the new “digital wave” to tide over the industry disruption brought about by technology, group chief Shine Bunnag said while outlining his vision.

Shine, who is chairman of NMG’s executive committee, said in an interview with Krungthep Turakij newspaper that with the disruption caused by technology, media was one of the first businesses to be severely impacted as people increasingly became consumers of online media.

“This resulted in advertising revenue moving away from traditional media, such as newspaper, radio, or even television which became a victim of intense competition due to the high number of channels and the battle for eyeballs with the digital media.”

“We will fully penetrate the potential of digital media, which will be our major cash-cow business to generate revenue for the group over the next 10 years and make up for the slide in revenue of traditional media,” he said.

Shine says that he aims to increase the revenue contribution from digital media from 15% at present to 25% in the next two years through two newly established business units – ‘Digital’ and ‘Digital Intelligent’.

Nation Multimedia Group aims to counter tech 'disruption' | News by The Thaiger

“The new Digital business unit will combine all online platforms of the group under one roof so that we can synergise our strengths. We found that today our online media have combined page views of about 10 million a day, which is one of the highest in Thailand’s media industry.”

“Our online platforms, however, plan to increase the number of page views to about 20 million a day within the first six months of establishing the new business unit, which will kick-off in September.”

Shine said that 10 million page views is the group’s database and the “new crude oil”, which is a high-value asset and the group’s community will create more value addition.

“We will follow the behaviour of these 10 million viewers in the digital world for who they are, and what their preferred interests are. Such valuable data will be used for our content production as well as ad sales, which will directly target the consumers, which are currently fragmented.”

“That is the duty of the new Digital Intelligent business unit, most of whose staff have been recruited from the technology field.”

Shine said the group’s change in direction has been necessitated by the digital game and the media disruption.

“It will be goal of the digital media to generate sustainable revenues and to promote credibility, which is the heart of the media business.”

“I want our ad buyers to be able to measure their ad campaigns banking on our media. Our media people will also work independently and not worry about the impact of their written work on revenue,” he said.

Shine said advertising revenue from the group’s television business will be flat or slow down, as younger consumers aged below 30 watch less TV and spend more time with alternative media to view their preferred content, such as re-runs of soap operas and variety programs.

“The golden age of the television business is over, similar to print media.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Business

Thai Airways must modify rehabilitation plan to survive: Airline President

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai Airways must modify rehabilitation plan to survive: Airline President | The Thaiger

PHOTO: gta5-mods.com

“Thai Airways will have to modify its rehabilitation plans to survive in the face of tight competition.” This frank admission by the airline’s president Sumet Damrongchaith.

The national carrier is now carrying a total debt of over 2.45 billion baht and losses of more than 20 billion, despite being able to reduce its debts by 48 billion baht over the past five years.

Sumet says the first step will be to restructure the airline’s management and finances as well as reconsider its plan to spend 1.5 billion baht on 38 new aircraft. He admits the biggest problem is that Thai Airways has low capital but a high debt-to-equity ratio of eight times.

In order to maintain its competitiveness, the carrier will have to reduce its debts versus assets and boost its working capital with support from the ministries of Transport and Finance. Hence, it plans to borrow approximately 3.2 billion baht in fiscal 2020 in line with the budget limit set by the Office of Public Debt Management.

This loan will be taken to support the airline’s investments as well as for its working capital, to update equipment and maintain existing aircraft, but will not be used to repay old debts.

The Nation also reports that the airline is also concerned about maintaining its liquidity because at the end of June this year, its revolving credit line stood at 13.4% of the total revenue forecast for 2019.

Sumet admits that, though the original rehabilitation plan has a set framework, the situation has now changed due to the appreciation of the baht, so in order to achieve goals, the work method has to be redesigned, such as finding a way to procure more passengers.

“We are now in the process of analysing new markets.”

Meanwhile, Thai Aiways’ board chairman Aek-Niti Nitithan-Praphas says the board is reconsidering plans to procure a new fleet taking into consideration the state of the global and domestic economies as well as the US-China trade war.

“The growth of the tourism industry and the airlines’ financial status needs to be reviewed in line with strong competition and routes that are no longer popular. It’s better to carefully revise the plan instead of exposing the airline to greater risk. The target should be reduce expenses by 20%.”

Meanwhile, Thai Airways aims to boost the sale of tickets, find ways of increasing online shopping of duty-free goods and reducing unnecessary expenses by 10%without affecting the quality of service in the last three months of 2019.

The airline is also negotiating the option of cutting down overtime expenses and is looking into curbing losses incurred by it’s semi-budget offshoot Thai Smile by increasing its flying hours to 10.5 hours daily. These steps are expected to help the airline reach breakeven point in the short term.

The airline is also considering long-term goals such roping in more passengers by offering greater benefits to Royal Orchid Plus members, focusing on digital marketing, retiring non-performing assets as well as increasing revenue from related businesses such as kitchens and aircraft repair centres.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Business

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain

May Taylor

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Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand’s Santa Fe restaurant chain | The Thaiger

(…or is that a 90% ‘steak’?)

PHOTOS: Wongnai

DealStreetAsia, an investor news site reporting on Asian business, confirms that Singha Corporation has purchased a majority stake in the Thai restaurant chain, Santa Fe. It’s understood that Singha purchased the shares held by Lakeshore Capital for approximately US$50 million or 1.53 billion baht, giving it a 90% stake in the chain seen in most Thai shopping centres.

The Nation reports that Singha will now oversee over 110 restaurants across Thailand in one of the country’s biggest food industry deals of the year. The company first turned its attention to the food industry two years ago, launching Food Factors Company under the Boon Rawd Brewery group.

WongnaiFood Factors aims to make 5 billion baht over 3 years under the stewardship of Piti Bhirombhakdi. The company has an ambitious long-term target of 10 billion baht a year, along with plans to be listed on the stock exchange.

The Santa Fe chain was established in 2003 by Surachai Charn-Anudet’s KT Restaurant Company, with the aim of becoming a major competitor to Sizzler, the American chain brought to Thailand by Minor Food.

SOURCE: The Nation

Singha grabs a 90% stake in Thailand's Santa Fe restaurant chain | News by The Thaiger

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Business

Thai Airways under pressure to deliver workable business plan

May Taylor

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Thai Airways under pressure to deliver workable business plan | The Thaiger

Thai Airways is coming under more pressure, after being given 30 days to deliver its new rehabilitation and business plans.

Thaworn Senniam, the Deputy Transport Minister, gave the instruction yesterday while meeting with the executive of the national carrier for an update on its financial status.

He says the business plan must provide clear information on how the fortunes of the airline can be turned around, with a focus on making it profitable once more, while improving customer satisfaction.

The order comes after Thai Airways President, Sumeth Damrongchaitham, denied last week that the airline was experiencing a liquidity crunch, claiming it had sufficient cash flow “for present and future operations”.

Minister Thaworn has previously said he does not believe Thai Airways’ existing rehabilitation plan will help it succeed in a turnaround. He has also ordered a monthly progress report on the carrier’s plans to buy new aircraft.

In September, the directors of Thai Airways asked the Executive Board to review a plan to order 38 additional aircraft, worth a total of 156 billion baht.

According to their second-quarter 2019 filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Thai Airways and its subsidiaries reported a net loss of 6.878 billion baht, compared to a loss of 3.086 billion baht over the same period last year.

SOURCE: The Nation

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