Singha Corporation, the country’s largest brewer, plans to diversify into property next year, developing a plot of land on Phetchaburi Road as a mixed-used complex.
Sant Bhirom Bhakdi, group director for the non-alcohol marketing department, said the company’s strategy endorsed by CEO Santi Bhirom Bhakdi was to explore new business opportunities to lift the sales contribution of non-alcoholic beverage businesses to 33% of its total within five years, from 12% of 90 billion baht last year.
Mr Santi said he had been interested in the property business for a long time. The family has its own hotels and golf clubs in Chiang Rai, Koh Samui and Krabi.
Singha recently won a bid for the 9-rai plot that used to house the Japanese embassy on Phetchaburi Road, about 20 metres from the Phetchaburi MRT station and 200 metres from the Airport Link’s Makkasan station.
Singha also purchased another one-rai plot next door to the embassy from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The market value of the two plots was estimated at 2 billion baht or 520,000 baht per square wah.
Mr Santi now wants to expand seriously into the property business particularly in the capital’s central business district.
Initially, the company would develop the former embassy site as a mixed-use complex including condominiums, offices and retail space. It also plans to move some of its headquarters operations from the Bang Krabue area to the site.
Singha is recruiting property professionals to serve future business expansion including a business development veteran from Land & Houses to oversee the project.
Currently, the company is hiring architects to design the complex and construction will start next year.
On the consumer-products front, Singha yesterday launched Masita, a new fried seaweed snack brand. Mr Sant said the expansion into fried seaweed snacks reflected a personal interest as well as good market potential as there are few competitors in the segment.
The market for seaweed snacks is worth about 1.7 billion baht. About 60% of the total belongs to fried seaweed, 30% baked seaweed, 7% grilled seaweed and 3% tempura seaweed.
Singha has hired KJC Interfood, the largest importer of Korean seaweed, to produce Masita.
The company plans to spend 100 million baht in the second half of this year to promote the brand, with Kyuhyon, the singer from the Korean band Super Junior, as its presenter.
The company aims to have sales of 200 million baht from the new product in its first year.
Singha aims to sell about 40,000 cases of Masita fried seaweed per month. If demand rises above 80,000 cases a month, it would consider taking up a joint venture with KJC.