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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thailand's Elite-card firm wants Cabinet to decide fate

Chairman Thongchai Sridama yesterday said the company would prepare four options for the Chairman Thongchai Sridamaourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to select from on July 29 for presentation to the Cabinet. They are closure; privatisation, with the private sector invited to own half; maintaining present operations; and transferring the company to the TAT.

Thongchai said if the company were shut down, the government would have to pay Bt2.3 billion in compensation to members and staff. The company's board members will likely disagree with this solution, because it could further damage the country's image.

"The government is waiting for the results of a study before determining the future of the company," said Thongchai.

He said the company had already lost Bt1.4 billion and thus needed some sort of a revision.
Acting president Udom Methathongrongsiri said the firm had cash flow of only Bt408 million but debt of Bt1.4 billion. However, the company is cutting 62 per cent of its operating costs.
"The company has had no revenue since the government ordered our operations frozen in February, but we still have huge costs," said Udom.

So far, the company is working with the Foreign Ministry and foreign offices of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to keep members informed about the company's situation.

The company is also joining with King Power International, operator of duty-free shops, to offer promotions encouraging member spending while in Thailand.

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