How Thailand’s Royals Manage to Own All the Good Stuff

Asia Sentinel

02 March 2007

A man, let’s call him Somchai, lives in a prime location in
central Bangkok.
Now in his sixties, Somchai designed and built his house himself nearly 30
years ago. He doesn’t own the land, but he only pays about 400 baht ($11) in
rent to his landlord.Image

So why does he now wish he lived somewhere else?

“If I could do it all over, I wouldn’t build on this land,”
he told Asia Sentinel. “There is no security. I can get kicked off at any
time.”

But he won’t go voluntarily. Somchai’s land, you see, is
owned by the King.

In fact, most of Bangkok’s
best real estate is owned by Thailand’s
royal family through the Crown Property Bureau (CBP), which manages the
monarchy’s land holdings. Somchai was able to build the house by bribing bureau
officials a few decades ago. Now if he sells it, 75 percent of the money will
go to the CPB, giving Somchai—who is retired with little savings—no incentive
to leave.

 “The people around
here all worry that they might be forced out, but we are too scared to talk
about it,” he said.

That fear of upsetting the monarchy goes a long way to
explain why so little has been written about the Crown Property Bureau. King
Bhumibol Adulyadej’s golden robe shields the bureau from public criticism,
allowing it to oversee a modern form of feudalism with little scrutiny.

More than any institution over the past hundred years, the
CPB has shaped Bangkok
and in recent years it has only picked up speed. Since recovering from huge
debts incurred during the 1997 financial crisis, the CPB has aggressively
sought to boost profits from its prime Bangkok
land plots, often pushing out poorer shop owners and tenants that have lived on
the land for generations.

The ceaseless development of huge malls, hotels and office
buildings is rarely debated as the bureau avoids public criticism. When its
officials do speak, they simply tout the king’s theory of a sufficiency
economy, which preaches moderation, reasonableness and immunity. As the bureau
has found, however, the best immunity from an economic downturn is to make sure
its birthright properties are yielding large amounts of cash.

 

Claiming the land

 

Talk of that sufficiency economy has been replaced with a
13-billion-baht grand vision to turn famed Rajadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok’s historical district into a shopping
street known as the “Champ Elysees of Asia” – that brand name ought to bring a
smile to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who royalist coup leaders have
blasted for failing to adhere to “sufficiency economy”. The bureau owns much of
the area, and said it would not renew 137 contracts after they expired in 2004.

A new part of the CPB’s strategy was to turn much of its
prime land into shopping centers and luxury housing. The CPB also signed a
30-year lease with Central Pattana to transform the World Trade Centre near the
Chidlom Bangkok Transit System station into Central
World Tower,
an enormous hotel, office and shopping plaza in the heart of Bangkok. It also joined hands with
Singaporean property firm CapitaLand to form a local subsidiary.

In addition to Central World, the CPB owns the land on which
a host of the city’s largest malls are located, including MBK Shopping Center, Siam
Center, and Siam Paragon. Coincidentally, Kempinski Hotels and Resorts, a
Europe-based company majority-owned by the bureau, will manage the new luxury
hotel being built next to the Paragon.

In recent years the bureau has also shocked longtime
residents of various traditional marketplace districts by giving them
eviction
notices. Previously they had always felt safe living on “the king’s
land.” In Chinatown, Thai-Chinese families that lived on CPB land
on Soi Luenrit for three generations were kicked out so a property
developer
could put up a jarring shopping mall that is out of character with the
historic
neighborhood.

In Charoen Phon, residents were told to leave their
shophouses to make way for a Tesco Lotus superstore. In Klong Thom,
another Chinatown market, the bureau sent marching orders so a
developer could build a new market that yielded higher rents. At the
old fish
market on Charoen Krung on the Chao
Phraya River,
traders fear that thousands of unskilled laborers will soon be out of
work. The
CPB wants to turn the traditional market into a 7-billion-baht
high-rise hotel,
condominium and commercial complex. The Silom Club, an 89-year-old
sports club
that some regard as a historical monument, will also be turned into a
high-rise.

The results of the new strategy have paid off grandly. In
2003, the CPB recorded revenue of four billion baht. About 1.7 billion baht of
that came from increased rents, shattering the 1 billion baht target Bureau director-general Chirayu
Isarangkun na Ayutthaya

had set four years earlier. In 2004, the bureau’s earnings reached five billion
baht. Chirayu announced that the CPB was now healthier than before the 1997 crisis.

 

Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper

 

Image

The Crown owns vast tracts of Bangkok

But as the bureau’s ambitions grow, the more it is entering
the public spotlight. While eviction is never easy, two high-profile spots are
getting more press. At Bo Bae market, City Hall asked vendors to move off the
street, where they had been blocking traffic, and into another building.
Although the CPB is not evicting anyone, it owns the land and offered a
concession to a developer to build a new market that was supposed to house the
evicted Bo Bae vendors. Police were called in at one point when vendors refused
to budge, and some have gone elsewhere. The developer, meanwhile, is upset that
many in the market have not moved into the new building. The fight looks set to
go on, as some vendors are standing firm and have vowed to go to jail if
necessary.

A larger fight could potentially take place at the Suan Lum
Night Bazaar, where reluctant vendors have been given until April to vacate
what has quickly become one of the city’s surprising tourist attractions. Some
see the battle over the largest plot of land in Bangkok’s central business district as a
prime example of how the CPB is patient in getting what it wants.

In the 1950s, the Navy controlled this valuable plot of land
next to Lumphini Park, but the military-run government of
Sarit Thanarat transferred it to the Army after he suspected Naval officers of
using the site to plot a coup against him. It then became home to the Armed
Forces’ Preparatory School, which opened in 1958.

In 1993, the CPB told the Supreme Command to move the school
when its lease expired in 1999 in order to ease traffic congestion. Since then,
plans for the 20.6-hectare site have been mired in controversy. Initially it was
to become a 350-meter tall telecommunications tower 49 percent-owned by the
bureau. Then it was set to become the headquarters for Siam Commercial Bank, in
which the CPB has a controlling stake.

But all along, the military pushed for the land to become a
public park in a city starved for green space. So when it emerged in 2000 that
the bureau would turn the land into the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, a kitschy night
market for tourists, many criticized the move. “The shopping mall is an eyesore
and a disgrace,” said leaflets distributed at the site by military school
alumni. “This is against a social contract made with pre-cadet students.”

The CPB responded in 2002 by saying the move was intended
only to recoup some cash spent relocating the military school. In a statement
reported at the time, the bureau said that long-term the land would be used for
“educational, cultural and recreational purposes.”

Many suspected, however, that the bureau only wanted to
lease the area to the night market in order to change the zoning from educational
use to commercial and residential. That happened in 2002, when Thaksin’s
government passed a law changing the status of the land plot. Indeed, by 2004
it was clear that the site was actually the pillar of the CPB’s expansion
plans.

Director-general Chirayu
said the sprawling market would be turned into a 100-billion-baht
commercial complex filled with offices, retail outlets, condominiums,
entertainment venues and a hotel.

Last June, the bureau announced that it had short-listed
Central Pattana Plc, Sansiri Plc and TCC
Land as developers for
the site. The company that operates Suan Lum also submitted a proposal to
expand the site while retaining the popular Night Bazaar and its many vendors;
that was rejected.

Central Pattana, which runs Central
World Tower,
has said it wants to redefine the city’s skyline by erecting Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper on the site. The
bureau is expected to announce the winner next April.

 

Royal cloak

 

Image

This popular night market was used as a ploy to change zoning regulations

Despite any setbacks, what keeps the bureau strong over the
long haul is the lack of critical public input or media coverage. Sure, some
attacks do appear on certain web boards, but business editors in Bangkok know better than to
write anything about the CPB for fear of upsetting the monarchy, and the bureau
is happy to keep it that way.

This immunity was most apparent after Singapore-government
run Temasek Holdings bought Shin Corp from Thaksin’s family in January 2006.
The sale was the tipping point for Thaksin, who responded to mass protests by
calling early elections. Months of deadlock ensued before the military, with
the backing of the palace, pushed the twice-elected premier from office. Most
criticism of the deal centered on the complicated shareholding structure
Temasek used to purchase Shin in such a way that it could bypass foreign
ownership restrictions.

Although this seems devious, the practice had been standard
operating procedure in Thailand
for decades before Thaksin’s political opponents seized on the issue.

It turns out that Kularb Kaew, one of the companies in the
Temasek-led consortium, was acting as a nominee for Temasek. Shareholders of
Kularb Kaew included Pong Sarasin, the brother of Arsa Sarasin, King Bhumibol’s
principle private secretary. Kularb Kaew owns part of Cedar Holdings. The other
owners of Cedar are Temasek and Siam Commercial Bank, in which the Crown
Property Bureau has a controlling stake. SCB also played a crucial role
advising and providing financial support for the deal.

Despite these interlocking interests, public anger was
directed solely at Thaksin for “selling off” a valuable Thai national asset to
foreigners. SCB and CPB were barely mentioned in the local press, even though
they actively helped Temasek allegedly violate the law.

The issue gets even more bizarre. The currently military-appointed
government recently proposed changes to the law to stop the longstanding
practice of foreigners using nominees to buy Thai companies. The new Commerce
Minister Krirkkrai Jirapaet had said the
changes were necessary because the Shin purchase through nominees “led directly
to the fall of a government”— the implication being that Thaksin himself was
responsible for the army driving tanks into Bangkok and tearing up the Constitution.

The Crown Property Bureau also has longstanding ties to Singapore.
Temasek owned a stake in SCB long before the Shin deal transpired, and Chirayu
has said the state-owned investment vehicle has been a “good partner for
years.”

Chumpol NaLamlieng, who served as president of Siam Cement
for 12 years, is now chairman of SingTel, which is owned by Temasek and holds a
21 percent stake in Advanced Info Service, the market-leading
telecommunications company founded by Thaksin and Shin Corp.

Since everyone knows everybody in this elite circle of
friends, it came as a shock to many that Tongnoi Tongyai, the private secretary
to Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, seemed set to join the Shin board and then
was quickly disowned by the palace. The episode was certainly awkward. While
the sequence of events remains opaque, some claim the prince gave the go-ahead
for Tongnoi to join the board, which led to a public announcement, but King
Bhumibol nixed the deal. Vajiralongkorn then issued a bizarre and shocking
public statement lashing out against Tongnoi.

“HRH the Crown Prince’s Personal Office considers MR Tongnoi
Tongyai a perverse abuser of power for his own benefit,” the statement said.
“His acts have misled the public and harmed HRH the Crown Prince’s Personal
Affairs Office, which thus finds itself obliged to publicize the facts of the
matter.”

Of course, since he had offended the throne, Tongnoi was not
able to defend himself.

The incident didn’t go away easily, however. Post Today, the
Thai-language sister paper of the Bangkok Post, had to pull thousands of copies
off the printer one recent night because a story quoting a leftist academic
said the press should investigate why Tongnoi was dismissed in such a strange
manner. Vajiralongkorn eventually called a group of reporters to the palace,
where he reportedly asked them: “Do you have a problem with me?” Nobody spoke
up.

 

Moral money-making

 

The Crown Property Bureau’s operations are important to
scrutinize in light of the September 19 coup. It was argued that the coup was
justified because Thaksin abused his powerful position to boost the financial
gains of his many companies, intimidated the media into favorable reporting,
and flaunted foreign ownership laws and tax loopholes in his family’s sale of
Shin Corp.

These arguments certainly have merits, but they are dubious
justifications for the palace-supported coup. The CPB is also guilty of what
Thaksin is accused of. The bureau has used its powerful position for decades to
acquire its massive landholdings, winning favorable business deals and paying
no taxes. It intimidates the media by linking itself to the god-like Bhumibol,
leaving newspapers afraid to touch it for fear of violating lese-majeste laws.

Some may argue that this doesn’t matter, as the Crown
Property Bureau’s assets are technically national property. Yet if that’s the
case, then it should shed its opaque “semi-private, semi-public” legal status
and open its books for all to see where the money is going. As of now, all
anyone has to go on is the words of executives and the general belief that they
must be morally outstanding because of their closeness to the royal family.

This moral image is crucial to the success of the
monarchy
and its financial arm. Thaksin was certainly well loved in many parts
of Thailand, but was reviled in Bangkok by royalist elites who
eventually saw
him as a rival to the all-powerful Bhumibol. This opened the door for
attacks
that questioned Thaksin’s moral ability to lead after his family sold
Shin to
Temasek.

Thaksin didn’t help his cause when he openly boasted that
his critics were “jealous” of him. Enraged opponents called him greedy and said
he didn’t have the kingly attributes to run the country.

Bhumibol, on the other hand, has adeptly crafted an image of
a loving father who always has the country’s best interests at heart. He
preaches sufficiency economy in an effort to distance the palace from the
consumerism that it helps create through opening lavish malls on some of Bangkok’s best
properties. You don’t see CPB using much of that land for green space to
contemplate the serenity of nature.

If this image was not so carefully cultivated—if Bhumibol
were a mere man with rather than a Buddhist dhamma king—then ordinary Thais
might ask how it came to be that one family managed to grab so much land. They
might even start to demand that they receive “fair value” and an opportunity to
have a slice of the pie.

As long as the elderly Bhumibol is around, this is unlikely
to happen. But the monarchy must ensure a smooth succession, otherwise the
public may demand that some light finally shine on the bureau’s murky finances.

Image

Part
Two: The Crown Property Bureau and How it Got That Way

The
history of the land owned by the Thai monarchy, and thus the Crown Property
Bureau, can be traced as far back as the Buddhist kingdom
of Sukothai in the 13th
century, as traditionally in Thailand
the king owns all the land.

In the
1800s, the monarchy set up the Privy Purse to use the profits from royal
trading to pay the royal household, and it was later used to finance overseas
education for royals. At least five percent of government revenues were
transferred into the Privy Purse each year.  In 1890, it became the Privy Purse Bureau
(PPB), acting as the monarchy’s investment arm, according to “A History of
Thailand” by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit.

The
government funds flowing into the PPB increased to about 15 percent of state
revenues and the money was used to invest in rice mills, property developments,
shops and provincial markets.

“As roads
were built the price of land increased, and this attracted the elite and the
PPB to invest in land and land related business such as market places and row
houses,” wrote Porphant Ouyyanont, an economist at Thammasat University,
in an academic paper. “A survey of land prices in Bangkok in the first decade of the 20th
century shows that the price of land was highest in the areas where roads were
cut.”

During
this time many Chinese families who prospered through royal patronage formed
banks and shipping companies to export rice. But a series of poor harvests from
1904 to 1908 led to a financial crisis.

The
monarchy, meanwhile, had set up Siam Commercial Bank with capital from
government revenues, allowing it to survive that economic downturn. SCB
extended loans to the Chinese merchants, who survived for a little while longer
before the monarchy’s bank seized their assets when they defaulted on loans.

By 1910,
the PPB was the country’s largest property owner, with about one-third of all
land in central Bangkok.
It held investments in railways, tramways, electricity, banking, cement, coal
mining and steam navigation. In addition to reclaiming land through bad debts,
it was able to occupy public land, and could directly buy land from whomever it
wanted.

The bureau
“always had the advantage in terms of obtaining information on road cutting,
the price of land, the advantage of land location and so on,” wrote Porphant.
“In this way the PPB acquired many plots of land established at good locations
and commercial centres.”

Often the
PPB would buy a plot of land to build houses, and then demand that the
government build a road nearby to increase the prices of land and properties.

“The
linking of Bangkok’s administrative structure
with royal interests produced both a physical and economic stamp on Bangkok which has had an
enduring effect on the city’s development,” Porphant wrote.

 

Absolute Monarchy Ends

 

Image

Some people are just born lucky

Although in
1932 a coup ended the absolute monarchy, the putsch leaders wanted to keep the
monarch in a symbolic position to help control the masses. In bargaining over
his diminished role, King Prajadhipok, or Rama VII, at one point threatened to
sell many royal possessions, including palaces, shrines and even the Emerald
Buddha, which sits in the Grand
Palace to this day.

The new
government passed laws transferring control of the Privy Purse Bureau to the
government, and subjecting the king to an inheritance tax. Unsurprisingly, King
Prajadhipok failed to sign the legislation.

After the
king abdicated in 1935, the Privy Purse was divided into Prajadhipok’s personal
property and the Crown Property Bureau, which fell under the Ministry of
Finance.  That year, a New York Times
story said the king’s property yielded 500,000 pounds sterling annually, or
about 6.5 million baht at the time. An unskilled laborer in Bangkok at the time would make about one baht
for a day’s work, meaning he would have to work for 17,808 years to amass as
much as the palace made in 12 months.

In 1936,
the Royal Assets Structuring Act declared that all Crown Property Bureau income
was tax exempt, although the king must still pay taxes on his personal fortune.
“National assets are exempted from tax, so therefore the king’s assets are
exempted, because they are the same as national assets,” section eight of the
law says.

Thawiwong
Thawalyasak, educated in Cambridge and a page to Rama VI, persuaded the
government to recognize the palace’s ownership of property that fell into
private hands after Prajadhipok was gone, according to Paul Handley’s book, “The
King Never Smiles.” Thawalyasak made tens of thousands of residents on this
land start paying rent to the Crown Property Bureau, and began evicting those
who wouldn’t pay. He even tried to evict the parliament, but the lawmakers
refused.

The
consolidation of property under the CPB allowed the monarchy to slowly rebuild
its fortune. By the 1960s, Siam Cement, the majority palace-owned industrial
conglomerate, as well as Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), were growing with the
strong economy.

The palace
became the ideal joint venture partner. Its land was used to build major hotels
like the Siam Intercontinental, the Erawan and the Dusit Thani. It held
investments in insurance, agribusiness, tires, and textiles. By the late 1960s,
Handley writes, the CPB had 500 staff members to oversee its investments and
property holdings.

In 1970,
Thawiwong died, and the ensuing decade saw failed investments like Air Siam, an
airline meant to rival Thai Airways, and other challenges to the CPB empire.

In one
case noted by Handley, the bureau ordered slum dwellers at Mu Ban Thaepprathan
to vacate the premises so it could be commercially developed. “The very public
fight against eviction generated comparisons between the CPB and officials who
evicted poor farmers from degraded state forests,” he wrote. “When student
activists got involved and likened the palace to a landowning feudalist, the
embarrassed palace halted the project.”

In the
late 1970s, the Communist Party of Thailand had launched an offensive against
the monarchy, criticizing its extravagance. At one point, the communists
broadcast comments saying: “The more powerful the monarch becomes, the poorer
the people become, and the more the monarch’s income from land rental, his
shares in commercial companies and his bank savings increase.”

 

Prem brings stability

 

By the
early 1980s, the communists had suffered a series of setbacks, and many took up
an amnesty offered by former army chief Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda, who
now heads Bhumibol’s 19-member privy council. Under Prem’s watchful eye, royal
projects funded by CPB revenues greatly expanded, along with the enforcement of
lese-majeste laws, ensuring that criticism of the palace came to a halt.

In 1988,
the CPB held stakes in about 40 companies, and the stock exchange was booming.
Its holdings in Siam Cement and SCB alone were worth more than $600 million,
not to mention the value of its 40,000 acres of land, including 13,300 in
Bangkok.

The
bureau’s burgeoning wealth put it on the radar screen of the foreign press, and
the Far Eastern Economic Review wrote a cover story on the CPB in June 1988
called “The King’s Conglomerate.” In it, Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, the
longstanding CPB director who had only been on the job a few months, said the
bureau is neither public nor private.

“We are a
little of both,” he told the magazine. “Our charter appears to highlight the
image of a public entity. But we also enjoy flexibility similar to [but not
totally on a par with] a private enterprise.”

The
article added that the CPB’s operations are “supervised” by a five-man
committee headed by the finance minister. The king is supposed to be consulted
on important matters, the article says, “but actual royal involvement is rare.”

The story
made no mention of the hybrid company’s unfair advantages, and didn’t question
the legal gray area the CPB operates in. For instance, if the CPB gets so many
state privileges and operates under the Ministry of Finance, why is its annual
report only for the eyes of the king?

A former
Finance Ministry official familiar with budgets says that although the
government technically runs the CPB, in reality the decisions are made by the
monarchy.

“Actually
the king is supposed to play a symbolic role,” he told Asia Sentinel. “But this
is Thailand.”

The king’s
personal fortune sits with the Privy Purse. Although the palace gets a stipend
from CPB revenues, the rest of the money goes to support the institution of the
monarchy, including the many royal projects and propaganda activities. But the
details of who gets what are not for public consumption.

Handley
argues that the royal projects, along with low rents and media campaigns, were
an orchestrated effort by the palace to win political support for the throne.
This could be seen from the many villagers who petitioned the king directly to
help them.

“Details
about these petition cases remain a closely held secret of the palace, with the
secrecy enhancing the very mystery of the king’s wisdom and ability to improve
the lives of his subjects,” he writes. “The cases divulged a greater truth,
though: the more the king’s works were advertised by Prem at the expense of the
government’s, the more the people looked beyond the government to their king
for escape from misery.” Without funds from the CPB, this would be impossible.

 

Rapid expansion

 

Things
only got better for the palace business conglomerate in the early 1990s.
Chirayu aggressively sought deals with developers that would give the CPB a
return of share rentals and equity. It put more money into small restaurants,
luxury condominiums, shopping complexes, hotels and office space. The new
leases substantially increased CPB income and the king’s personal wealth. In
1990, Handley writes, dividends to the Mahidol family (Bhumibol was the son of
Prince Mahidol of Songkhla and the grandson of King Chulalongkorn) reached
US$30 to $40 million per year tax-free, and the holdings of the royal family
were worth more than $1 billion. Estimates now put Bhumibol’s personal wealth
at between $2 billion and $8 billion.

The crown also
had big plans. Its media arm sought to buy Thai-language dailies and a
television station, as well as build a film production studio and tourist
attraction to rival Universal Studios. The CPB had subsidiaries involved in
advertising, cable television, financial services, construction, cinemas, insurance,
hospitals, and petrochemicals, among many others.

During
this time, a few questionable deals surfaced. In 1996, the government
investigated when Siam TV & Commercial, a joint venture between the CPB and
SCB, won a concession to run a commercial television station, iTV. The company
won the 30-year contract with an offer of 120 billion baht in royalties, even
though a rival company offered royalties of 625 billion baht. The results of
the investigation were never reported.

Also in
1996, the CPB sought to acquire a 15 percent stake in rehabilitated First
Bangkok City Bank from the central bank for 8.50 baht a share, even though the
market valued them at 22.50 baht per share. The deal was arranged by Finance
Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, who is married to Suthawan Sathirathai, a niece
of Queen Sirikit. The successor for Surakiart, who also served in Thaksin’s
administration, canceled the order, saying “the fund stands to lose too much.”

 

Crash

 

When the
government floated the baht on July 2, 1997, the Crown Property Bureau was
devastated. Its media arm, already struggling before the crash, quickly went
bankrupt. Siam Cement and SCB were also shaken, and Chirayu took over as board
chairman of both companies. Siam Cement had not hedged US$4.2 billion in
foreign debts, resulting in a $1.2 billion foreign exchange loss in 1997. Siam
Commercial Bank was worse off, as loan collateral didn’t even cover half of the
loans given out. The bureau’s total liabilities hit six billion baht.

By 1998,
Chirayu said it was time to “bite the bullet.” The CPB announced that it was
cutting 143 billion baht worth of new projects and adopting the king’s
“sufficiency economy” approach. It would now focus on its core investments in
Siam Cement and SCB, as well as try to extract more money from its leases.

“We’re
told not to be greedy,” Chirayu told reporters. “Our problem in the past when
the economy was in good shape was that we received many investment invitations
and we agreed. From now on, we need to be careful and our investment policy
will hinge on the macroeconomic prospects. We must not invest in risky
projects.”

 

Getting a “fair return”

 

The bureau
received a large amount of help post-crisis, although its earnings reportedly
dropped 80 percent in 1998. Honda Motor raised capital in its struggling local
unit partially owned by the CPB and offered to sell the stake back to the
bureau at book value in 10 years. At the same time, Chirayu insisted that the
government help bail out SCB, even though it was strictly a commercial
enterprise.

The
government proceeded to inject $1 billion to bail out SCB and agreed to sell
back its stake to the bureau in the coming years. The CPB did so in 2004 when
it traded a piece of land near Victory Monument to the Finance Ministry, which
technically oversees the bureau, for a 13 percent stake in SCB.

After the
financial crisis, Thaksin also helped the palace out when he paid $60 million
for SCB’s stake in iTV, which for a brief period was the only independent
television station in Thailand. “With little likelihood of ever recovering the
investment, Thaksin was effectively bailing out the bank and the palace,”
Handley wrote.

The CPB
also set a goal in 2000 to increase revenue from rents from 300 million baht
per year to one billion baht by 2005. It would raise rents across the board,
including for the cash-strapped government agencies that supposedly controlled
the bureau.

“We will
focus on both areas and try to maximize benefits from our assets,” Chirayu
said. “We also have no plan to invest in any new projects.”

Having
learned its lesson, the CPB restructured in 2001. Chirayu announced that the
CPB would shed its “antiquated” way of doing business to get a “fair return” on
its holdings. The bureau created CPB Equity to look after its equity
investments and joint ventures, and CPB Property to look after its land
holdings.

Things
suddenly got much better the following year, and the halt on investments was
lifted. Helped by a team that prominently featured American business consultant
Michael David Selby, the Crown Property Bureau announced that it repaid its
debts from the financial crisis and was “now financially strong,” according to
executive Yos Euarchukiati.

In fact,
its plans, as the ensuing years have shown, were bigger than ever.

 

powered by performancing firefox

Advertisements

มีการตอบกลับหนึ่งครั้ง

  1. interesting and good to know the fact.

ใส่ความเห็น

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / เปลี่ยนแปลง )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / เปลี่ยนแปลง )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / เปลี่ยนแปลง )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / เปลี่ยนแปลง )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: