BANGKOK, NNA – Thailand’s Central Pattana Public Co. is planning to open its first few shopping centers in Vietnam within five years, cashing in on booming private consumption in one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia.
The retail property developer and manager of the Central Group of Companies intends to earmark 6 billion baht ($189 million) to 7 billion baht to invest in two or three shopping centers in Vietnam as part of its overseas expansion to achieve sustainable growth, Naparat Sriwanvit, chief financial officer and senior executive vice president, said at an investor conference earlier this month.
Central Pattana sees scope for Vietnam’s retail sector to grow as retail floor space per capita is 0.11 square meter in Ho Chi Minh City and 0.1 sqm in Hanoi, compared to 0.92 sqm in Bangkok, according to the developer.
Naparat Sriwanvit, chief financial officer and senior executive vice president of speaks at an investor conference in Bangkok on March 1.
The company is preparing to draw up a plan for entry into Vietnam and will announce details early next year, the CFO said.
In Malaysia, the Thai firm will open its first regional shopping center abroad, a Central i-City commercial complex in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor State near Kuala Lumpur, by the end of this month. It houses Japanese department store Sogo, a premium food supermarket and a cinema complex among other tenants in its 89,000 square-meter rental floor space.
The company invested 8.3 billion baht in the project via a joint venture with a Malaysian partner, taking a 60 percent stake in the local unit and the partner holding the remainder.
In its medium-term management plan, Central Pattana aims to increase its overseas sales portion to 7 percent of the total in 2023 as growth in the Thai retail sector is expected to slow down in the future, Sriwanvit said.
Among group affiliates, Robinson Department Store Public Co. runs Robins brand outlets in Vietnam. Central Group also operates Big C supermarkets in the country.
Central Pattana posted group sales of 36.57 billion baht in 2018, up 5.6 percent from the previous year. It operates 32 retail complexes and 29 food courts, and manages seven office buildings, two hotels and a housing complex in Thailand.