WHA Corporation, Thailand’s largest developer of built-to-suit logistics facilities, prepares to reduce land sales target
Inbound flights needed for industry
SET-listed WHA Corporation, Thailand’s largest developer of built-to-suit logistics facilities, may cut its target for industrial land sales in Thailand and Vietnam by 200-300 rai from 900 rai if authorities do not allow inbound flights to Thailand this year.
“If the government does not lift the travel ban, we need to cut our forecast again because no foreign investors will buy land in our industrial estates,” said Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, WHA chairwoman and group chief executive.
Earlier this year, WHA announced a sales target of 1,400 rai for 2020, but the target was later reduced to 900 rai (600 rai in Thailand and 300 rai in Vietnam) during the pandemic.
Travel restrictions have been used to contain the outbreak, but if executives cannot easily enter Thailand, domestic investment projects will be delayed, said Ms Jareeporn.
WHA also cut its investment target this year to 5.3 billion baht from 9 billion because of the pandemic.
The company set a five-year investment budget worth 50 billion baht from 2021 to 2025.
“The investment includes merger and acquisition plans in Thailand and Vietnam,” she said.
WHA plans to develop its second industrial estate spanning 20,000 rai near Hanoi to serve as a new production base for Asean investors as well as Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese companies considering relocating factories to escape the impact of the US-China trade war.
“The company expects to begin land sales for this project within 2-3 years,” said Ms Jareeporn.
WHA operates an industrial estate project in Nghe An province in north-central Vietnam containing 20,000 rai. About 1,000 rai has been developed to serve investors.
Next year the company expects double-digit revenue growth, with industrial land sales in the two countries reaching 1,000 rai if the economy recovers and the travel ban is lifted.
Its 2020 revenue should be close to the 13.3 billion baht it tallied last year, WHA estimated.
Despite the company’s revisions of its targets because of the outbreak, Ms Jareeporn believes demand for industrial investment will grow as a result of investors’ long-term outlooks.
“The industrial development sector may experience less damage from the outbreak. The country is not yet open, but demand for investment from East Asian countries still exists,” she said.
“Once the country is able to reopen, Chinese investors will flow in rapidly.”
Ms Jareeporn said WHA Group will continue to support the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) with its newly completed WHA Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate 3, covering 2,200 rai.
A new project, WHA Rayong 36, the company’s 11th industrial estate in Thailand, will start construction in the fourth quarter of 2020, potentially drawing more foreign investment.
The WHA Tower project, a premium office building on Bang Na-Trat Road, is 80% complete and scheduled to be ready for use in the first quarter of 2021.