ThaiBev to launch two new spirits, looks to rebound from sales decline

BANGKOK • Sales of Singapore-listed Thai Beverage in the first nine months of its fiscal year, from October last year to June, dropped 6 per cent year on year to 142 billion baht (S$5.8 billion) because of slow economic growth, its chief executive Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi told reporters.

Sales have also been pressured by Thailand's observance of a year-long mourning period after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October last year.

The beer market has declined by 8 per cent, one executive said at Thursday's news conference, as festivities have been curbed.

ThaiBev, controlled by Mr Thapana's billionaire father Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, expects an upturn after the mourning ends this month, and plans to launch two new spirit products next month.

The company is optimistic about the Thai economy next year, thanks to strong fundamentals and growth from neighbouring Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, Mr Thapana said.

The company was also hit by a new alcohol excise tax and a sugar tax on its sweetened drinks, which Mr Thapana said has had a "short-term impact" on business.

It has raised the prices of spirits, which make up more than half of its revenue, by about 2 per cent across the category, said chief executive of spirits Prapakon Thongtheppairot.

For the current financial year starting this month, the company plans capital expenditure of of 17.4 billion baht for routine repairs, maintenance, and potential mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Mr Thapana said.

ThaiBev, known for its Chang beer, also wants to grow its beer market share in South-east Asia, said Mr Edmond Neo Kim Soon, head of the firm's beer division.

Overseas operations account for 10 per cent of revenue and M&A activity is needed for expansion, he said, adding that key markets are Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The company is also expanding its food business, executives said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2017, with the headline 'ThaiBev to launch two new spirits, looks to rebound from sales decline'. Print Edition | Subscribe