Increasingly starved of new opportunity in their home market over the past decade, Thai companies have moved abroad. It has been a subtle yet impressive shift and one that has only grown in momentum.
Emerging from the global financial crisis relatively unscathed, Thai MNCs have surged through the markets. Innovative, breaking new ground and taking advantage of European and American economic downturns Thai firms have spent over $20 billion buying overseas assets since 2008 -- a 14-fold increase over the preceding five years according to Bloomberg.
While overshadowed by Thailand's domestic political crises, many companies have found themselves to be the Kingdom's de facto 'Brand Ambassadors' since 2006 and Thai acquisitions have hit the news in developed and emerging economies alike.
In the last three years Banpu's purchase of coal mining stakes in Australia and Mongolia was been met by Sahaviriya Steel Industry's acquisition of Teeside Steel in the U.K. State-owned PTT has continued its own international exploration, outbidding Shell for rights to drill in offshore Mozambique last month and Indorama, the world's largest integrated polyester producer, is set to open the first PET factory in Sub-saharan Africa. Meanwhile ThaiBev's move to buy out Frank & Neave's share in Asia Pacific Breweries this month has pitted it against global giant Heineken NV and CP Group stands as a $8 billion global agro-food giant straddling European and Asian markets with growing operations in retail and telecommunications.
Today's largely unsung emergent global force, Thailand's MNCs are cashed up and looking to buy. In a groundbreaking programme, the FCCT is proud to welcome senior Thai MNC executives and observers to face the press, discussing why and how Thai companies have ascended to be global market players in a little under ten years. Giving their perspectives and speaking on the challenges ahead, the FCCT is delighted to welcome:
- Dr Pavida Pananond, Head of the department of International Business, Logistics & Transport at Thammasat Business School. An internationally respected analyst and pundit on Thai business trends, Dr Pavida will be presenting based on her recently concluded novel research tracking the international expansion of Thai MNCs that will be published in the Asian Business & Management journal early next year.
- Mr Aloke Lohia, Group CEO, Indorama Ventures. Of Indian descent, Aloke Lohia has lived in Thailand for over twenty years and took his Indorama Ventures public in 2010. Expanding across the US, Mexico, Germany, Poland, China, Indorama's success launched him onto the Forbes Billionaires list and he is currently ranked fourth in Thailand.
- Dr Sarasin Viraphol, Executive Vice President, Business Development, Charoen Pokphand Group. A Harvard PhD graduate, Dr Sarasin served in Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attaining the rank of Ambassador and serving as Deputy Permanent Secretary. He was also previously an assistant professor at Thailand's Chulalongkorn University.
Members: No cover charge, buffet dinner is 350 baht
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