Thailand developer Central Pattana (CPN) is looking at expanding into Asean countries by 2017, most likely Vietnam, Malaysia or Indonesia, president and chief executive officer Kobchai Chirathivat said. He said purchasing power in those countries had strong growth potential, especially with the Asean Economic Community (AEC) coming into effect in 2015.
"When we expand into Asean countries, [we will either] invest by ourselves [or form] joint ventures with new partners. This will depend on the business opportunity," he said.
Meanwhile, the company has continued to expand domestically, both in Bangkok and upcountry. This is according to its five-year plan to open 15 new shopping complexes, in Thailand and overseas, worth a total of Bt50 billion by 2017.
Two of the new complexes will launch in 2014, CentralFestival Samui worth Bt3.1 billion in January and CentralPlaza Salaya in Nakhon Pathom province in the third quarter, worth Bt3.9 billion.
The Koh Samui project will have total space of 90,000 square metres to serve an estimated 35,000 shoppers a day.
CentralPlaza Salaya will have 180,000sqm of space and target about 60,000 customers a day.
CPN is also still interested in developing a 500,000sqm mixed-use project at Suan Lum Intersection in Bangkok. This 88-rai (14-hectare) plot is owned by the Crown Property Bureau, which has again called for bids on the project after cancelling it earlier. CPN will submit its proposal in August.
Kobchai said that if successful in winning the Suan Lum job, CPN planned to develop a project that combined retail, offices and housing in line with the terms of reference.
However, he declined to give more details before the company submits its plan to the bureau.
He added that demand in the retail market had continued to grow in line with the country's gross domestic product, which has been expanding by an average of 4-5% a year. This is boosting consumers' purchasing power.
Meanwhile, Thailand has the potential to be regional hub once the AEC becomes effective, as multinational firms set up their head offices here.
As a result of all these factors, CPN will continue to expand its investment to boost its annual revenue growth to an average of 15% between now and 2017, he said.
Wallaya Chirathivat, CPN's senior executive vice president for business development, design and construction, said the company's revenue in the first quarter of this year had achieved the estimated 15%.
Five percentage points of this growth were due to rental income from existing projects, and the rest from new projects.
The company also plans to open two new branches in Hat Yai and Chiang Mai in the second half of 2013, she said.