Thailand’s leading consumer product conglomerate Saha Group said it expected no sales growth in 2015 due to the country’s weak economy and poor domestic consumption and would like to see a weaker baht to boost exports.
With estimated sales of 300 billion baht ($8.87 billion) this year, the company has delayed its investment in neighbour Myanmar and instead focused on a special economic zone at border city Mae Sot, Chairman Boonsithi Chokwatana told reporters.
“As the economy is not so good, we are more cautious about investment and selectively invested in some necessary areas,” Boonsithi said, adding the group spent only 200-300 million baht on buying new machines and boosting efficiency.
The firm shelved plans to set up an industrial estate in Myanmar citing “expensive” land prices in the neighbouring country.
Unlisted Saha Group has interests in major consumer products companies including Saha Pathanapibul, Saha Pathana Inter Holding and ICC International Pcl.
It has also formed a join venture with Japanese convenience store operator Lawson Inc to open 108 shops in Thailand.
Vathit Chokwatana, director of Saha Pathanapubul said the group aimed to open new 30 branches of Lawson this year to double to 60 at the end of this year with estimated cost of 90 million baht.
Sales of instant noodles in Thailand, an indicator to gauge consumer purchasing power, are expected to rise 3 percent this year after a rise of 1.2 percent in 2014, the lowest in 42 years, Vathit said.
But the Thai instant noodle market, valued at 15.8 billion baht, fell 0.3 percent in the first four months of this year, he said, adding Saha Group’s Mama noodle has market share of 53 percent. (Reuters)