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It was a very good year – Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger

The Thaiger

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It was a very good year – Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | The Thaiger

by Tim Newton, CEO – The Thaiger

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone who has been a valuable part of a mega 12 months for The Thaiger in 2018. It’s been an often-rocky ride but ended up with all the pieces falling into place with the stage set for a massive 2019.

Whereas we started 2018 as a brash media start-up, we’ve ended the year, statistically, as a local leader with audiences continuing to be attracted by our fresh approach, quick delivery and accurate, relevant content. Whilst some Thai media are fighting to maintain circulation and prop-up their old business models, The Thaiger has truly thrived in 2018 as we relentlessly, and sometimes recklessly, keep trying new ideas and new technology.

This year was a year of some fundamental changes to our coverage and scope. Not simply a voice for the island of Phuket anymore, The Thaiger became a national news player, whilst still retaining our Phuket roots and excellent coverage for the island community.

The start of April 2018 also saw the transition of the Phuket Gazette/The Thaiger brand to simply ‘The Thaiger’. Changing our domain was a major effort for our IT team and just the first of many successes for the best IT team in Thailand. As before, The Thaiger will continue to be custodian of the vast 23 year resource of Phuket Gazette articles which readers can continue to search in our website.

It was a very good year - Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | News by The Thaiger

Whilst we were attracting around 200,000 page views per month in April this year, we end the year with nearly one million page views per month and the growth will continue in 2019. If you were a newspaper in days past, getting a 500% growth in ‘circulation’ over a year would be a major achievement.

2018 also saw us reaching out to a new Thai-language audience with a fresh new approach to coverage not seen by Thai readers in the past. This will also continue to evolve and grow in 2019.

Whilst 2018 has seen consolidation and growth in Thaiger social media, that will move into hyperdrive in 2019 as we reach out on all the favorite social media platforms with more, engaging and better posts – in Thai and English.

In staff numbers The Thaiger has grown from five at the start of the year to 14 at the end of 2018. Our home office in Kathu is now a main road premises in Kamala which we share with our digital media partners. Three more staff join the Thaiger team in January 2019.

The original Thaiger product – The Thaiger 102.75 FM – has cemented itself as the island’s choice for local information, reliability, great music and its commitment to local news, seven days a week. Garry, Gerry and Tom were a formidable and professional core team throughout the year.

If there was one feature this year it would be the amazing success of our coverage of the Tham Luang cave rescues. Apart from the story being big international news, it also launched The Thaiger to many, many new followers. For a week we were Thailand’s preferred social media source (in English) beating our much larger and better resourced competitors. Whilst it wasn’t planned to be that way, we hit a note with our cable TV-like approach to updates and coverage. It was a milestone for The Thaiger in 2018.

It was a very good year - Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | News by The Thaiger

Looking into the 2019 crystal ball, thethaiger.com is planning 650% traffic growth in the next 12 months and has budgeted to grow bottomline earnings by 350%.

2019 will also see The Thaiger reach beyond the borders of Thailand and replicate our successful platform in other key markets in Southeast Asia. This, whilst we work to increase brand recognition amongst our key demographic in Thailand and attract more daily visitors.

You, the readers, listeners and viewers, are the only reason we do this every day. Your support, and sometimes your savage criticism, have helped to make our product better throughout 2018. Everything we do, daily, is to make the product more relevant and useful for YOU. The Thaiger is nothing without your trust in what we do.

Our sponsors make it all possible and we thank them for their faith in our product and the valuable finances that allow us to keep going. We look forward to continuing the journey with you into 2019.

Finally, as the past ‘front man’ for The Thaiger, I am very happy to be stepping back and allowing some of our new staff to take the limelight and share their talents in 2019. The company has reached the stage where it now requires a lot more hands-on management.

I would like to thank Mike, Noom, Garry, Gerry, Goongnang, Tom, Donna, Brennan, Paul, Darren, Paulie, Eugene, Pond, Mam and Uddy as well as our media partners The Nation and Newshawk Phuket. Also the many, many contributors and contractors that make up the extended Thaiger family.

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable new year and look forward to serving all our customers and stakeholders better in 2019.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Business

500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies

Greeley Pulitzer

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500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies | The Thaiger

Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.

Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.

A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.

Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.

“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.

The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.

The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Fish sauce excluded from Thailand’s proposed tax on salty foods

May Taylor

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Fish sauce excluded from Thailand’s proposed tax on salty foods | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Cook’s Illustrated

Thailand’s Excise Department and Public Health Ministry is considering a levy on salty foods in an attempt to tackle the sodium-rich diets of Thai citizens, and the health consequences.

The director general of the Excise Department, Patchara Anuntasilpa says the tax would be calculated based on the amount of salt in a product, with the proposal being sent to Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana by year end.

Fish sauce is a liquid condiment made from fish or krill that have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years.[1][2]:234 It is used as a staple seasoning in East Asian cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly south east Asia and Taiwan. Following widespread recognition of its ability to impart a savoury umami flavor to dishes, it has been embraced globally by chefs and home cooks.

“If the tax is approved, we will allow entrepreneurs one or two years to reduce the salt content and launch a less-salty version of their product.”

The World Health Organisation and the UN both recommend taxing foods with a high salt content, saying increased sodium intake leads to high blood pressure, cancer and kidney and heart disease.

The Nation reports however, that while the proposal is to levy the tax on frozen and canned foods, along with processed items such as instant noodles, seasoning such as fish sauce and snacks like potato chips would be excluded.

The Federation of Thai Industries has pledged to cooperate with the government’s effort to improve the health of Thailand’s citizens, but its head Wisit Limluecha says he is not in favour of taxing popular seasonings, snacks, frozen or instant foods.

“Research has found that these foods represent only 20% of what we eat each day, and everyone has different eating habits, so the better solution would be to advise consumers on how to eat healthily.”

Wisit warns that the tax may damage the country’s competitiveness in the food sector both overseas and in Thailand, where imported products are easily available. He also voices concern that small businesses will suffer if unable to afford ingredient and packaging changes.

SOURCE: The Nation

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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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