Jan 7, 2013

Mahagitsiri Group eyes Myanmar hotel

Mahagitsiri Group plans to invest in a five-star hotel in Myanmar but will focus on alternative energy, entertainment and technology in the Thai market.

The group is owned by Prayudh Mahagitsiri, an eminent investor who has pioneered many first-in-Thailand projects.

He also set up PM Group two years ago as a private fund to invest in high-potential businesses.

Mr Prayudh is chairman of PM Group, while his son Chalermchai is chief executive.

Mr Chalermchai declined to give details of PM Group's assets but said the company has invested in listed and non-listed firms and property projects.

These include The Nest Ploenchit, a high-end Bangkok condominium; Lakewood Country Club, a golf club in Samut Prakan; and the Mountain Creek Golf Resort and Residences in Khao Yai.

PM Group also plans to acquire a hotel in Yangon, upgrading the facility to five-star status.

It expects a deal to be concluded in early 2014 and the hotel to be operational by the end of that year.

"Myanmar has high potential for growth with its population of 48 million," said Mr Chalermchai.

"With more tourists and business travellers, hotel room rates rose sharply last year. The three-star hotel where I stayed early last year was US$80 a night but rose to $200 by year-end."

Mr Chalermchai said the family-owned fund will look for investments in high-growth businesses offering a good return on investment.

He is recognised as a young, aggressive private investor on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

His investments cover 19 companies, and he holds major stakes in Thoresen Thai Agencies (TTA), Thai Film Industries, Posco-Thainox, Golden Land Property Development and Susco.

"My strategy is long-term investments with companies that I can manage or will let me sit on the board. With minor shares, I just trade them or hold onto them for a short period," said Mr Chalermchai.

"I started investing at 15 when I was studying in the US. But I lost money so many times, the biggest loss coming in 2000 amid the dot-com crisis. I lost all my money.

"That was a big experience, but now I have to be more cautious. I want to tell young investors that you should take your profit and go. Don't hold stocks too long, as you never know what will happen tomorrow.

"I'm an investor who will take his profit and go, but my father taught me to be an operator and compromise. I prefer to be a builder. It means that when I invest, I have to improve the company's operation. When it grows and is bigger than the size I can manage myself, I need to find a partner.

"With TTA, I plan to build the company's profits and set its business direction clearly. It could take two or three years, but it has good potential."

Mr Chalermchai said this year's investment outlook will focus on the property sector.

Thailand will gain from being in the geographical centre of the Asean Economic Community, while the energy, entertainment and technology sectors should also do well.

"I believe the SET index will decline next year but not by too much, as the fundamentals are sound and many stocks are near fair value," said Mr Chalermchai.

Source: Bangkok Post