Property firms acquire land worth nearly Bt100 billion

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Real Estate February 05, 2018 01:00

By Somluck Srimalee
The Nation

Twelve listed property firms have announced investment budgets worth between Bt98.04 and Bt99.04 billion to acquire land to develop residential projects worth between Bt385.15 billion and Bt385.64 billion in the year 2018, according to a survey by The Nation.

Over half of the investment budget from the firms will come from their initial cash while others will issue debentures worth a combined nearly Bt50 billion, along with seeking project financing from the commerฌcial banks, according to the survey.

For example, Land & Houses Plc plans to issue debentures worth Bt14 billion this year, while Sansiri Plc issued debentures for Bt4 billion early this year, and Pruksa Holding Plc is planning to raise Bt5 billion from issue of debentures this year.

“We are confident the property market will experience strong growth of 510 per cent this year, thanks to the country’s estimated economic growth of 4 to 4.5 per cent in the year, while the country’s exports and tourism have seen strong growth following the global ecoฌnomic recovery,” said Naporn Sunthrnchitcharoen, Land and Houses chairman of the board of directors.

Meanwhile, the government has expanded investments worth over Bt2 trillion from 2018 to 2020 to develop infrastructure projects nationwide.

That will boost the demand for residential project growth from this year through the next three years, said Pruksa Real Estate Plc’s chief executive officer premium, Prasert Taedullayasatit.

With the nationwide infrastructure expansion, most listed property firms have continued to develop residential projects around both existing and new mass transit routes.

Following the trend, land prices around existing and new mass transit routes have increased by double digits this year compared with last year.

“With land prices rising, it will boost residential price increases this year by five per cent,” said Pruksa’s Prasert. “Land price rises were the main factor affecting residential price increases last year, while other cost factors such as construction and labour moved slightly.”

A January 2 announcement of the Treasury Department of the Finance Ministry noted that land prices nationwide were rising by double digits, especially in the central business districts of Bangkok.

For example, land on Silom Road showed the highest appraisal value at Bt1 million per square wah, up 15 per cent from its price of Bt850,000 per square wah four years ago. Ploenchit was next at the price of Bt900,000 per square wah, up 12.5 per cent from its price of Bt800,000 per square wah four years ago, while Sathorn Road price was Bt750,000 per square wah, up 15.3 per cent from Bt650,000 per square four year ago

Meanwhile, the purchase last week of 25 rai (4 hectares) of land on Wireless Road, formerly part of the UK embassy grounds, topped out at Bt1.86 million per square wah. Central Group partnered with Hongkong Land to buy the properฌty to develop a mixeduse project. The price had risen by 95.78 per cent from 10 years ago, when Central Group acquired a ninerai (1.44hectare) slice of the UK embassy land. The opening bid in 2007 was Bt950,000 per square wah.



New agency proposed to spur growth in fintech startups

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Rapee Sucharitakul, secretary general of SEC
Rapee Sucharitakul, secretary general of SEC

Economy February 15, 2018 01:00


REGULATORS plan to offer financial and other privileges to aid the development of financial technology (fintech) startup ventures.

Elsewhere in the fast-moving technology sector, the regulators also say they will soon put in place clear rules aimed at protecting those who buy into international coin offerings (ICOs) and make other types of investments in cryptocurrencies.

The Finance Ministry said it planned to create an institution for financial innovation and technology to provide financial support to fintech startups, along with other privileges.

Speaking at a fintech forum hosted by the Thai Fintech Association yesterday, Somchai Sujjapongse, permanent secretary for finance, said the ministry would this year propose to the Cabinet that the new institution to foster growth of fintech startups be set up, backed by investment of Bt500 million.

The proposed institution would select startups that have good ideas to develop new financial services. Those selected enterprises would be given training, advice and office space to work in, he said.

Their products would be nurtured in an experimental sandbox regulated by the Bank of Thailand, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or other regulators. If they pass the experimental test, the startup founders would likely to get funding from venture capital or angel investors, Somchai said.

Regarding ICOs, Rapee Sucharitakul, secretary general of SEC, said that companies wanting to raise funds through this new mechanism were free to do so, as there were no regulatory barriers to his form of fundraising.

However, the SEC would over the next two months put in place regulations to govern ICO activity. This will ensure that the interests of investors are protected, Rapee said.

The regulations would specify what type of companies can hold an ICO, and that such issuers need not be listed companies.

Rapee said that ICO issuers must disclose accurate information to investors. They also have to make clear to investors what the raised funds would be used for.

As fundraisings via ICO involve cryptocurrencies, he said regulators need to introduce regulations that governed the use of these digital currencies.

Rapee said Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong had assigned the Finance Ministry, the SEC, the BOT and Anti Money Laundering Office to draft regulations concerning cryptocurrencies. This process was expected to be completed in the next three weeks, he said.

The BOT has voiced its concerns over the risks associated with cryptocurrencies and has sought cooperation from commercial banks to not engage in transactions involving them.

The central bank is worried about the prospect of financial fraud arising from an absence of regulations governing the digital currencies.

However, Rapee said institutions or investors could enter into transactions involving the virtual currencies.