Thailand: TOT Plc’s union wants entire board of directors dismissed

TOT Plc's union wants entire board of directors dismissed

[August 24, 2007]

(Thai Press Reports Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Section: General News – Internal conflicts and lack of business experience are hurting company’s prospects, workers tell ICT Ministry, The Nation reports. TOT’s labour union wants the Information and Communications Technology Ministry to sack its board, including chairman General Saprang Kalayanamitr.

The union said new directors with backgrounds in management were needed.

It threatened to shut down TOT’s head office and bar their entry, if the board was not overhauled within seven days. The union backed up its move by saying the current board had no experience in management and had created conflicts between directors and the president, according to a letter it sent to the ICT Ministry on August 23.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Saprang reportedly criticised TOT executives and staff for failing to do their best for the state enterprise, despite their high salaries.

According to the union’s letter, many management disputes had erupted under the new board between some directors and president Somkual Buraminhentr, and between Somkual and vice presidents.

The board also lacked standards in making decisions, management experience and outstanding performance. This had hit staff confidence in the board and in TOT’s ability to generate revenue, the letter claimed.

“To show that you [ICT minister] do not support any of the board members but want to uphold righteousness and protect the nation and state enterprise assets, we would like to ask you to change the board as soon as possible,” the letter said. It was signed by acting union head Nukul Bawornsirinukul.

One report, however, claimed the union was split between those in favour and those opposed to the board.
The current TOT directors took office in February.

A telecom source on August 23 questioned TOT’s chances of surviving market competition in a time of liberalisation when the organisation lacked unity. TOT’s first-half net profit of Bt2.86 billion was a sharp drop from Bt4.47 billion in the first half last year, as revenues slid from Bt29.8 billion to Bt25.9 billion. More than Bt10 billion in revenue came from concession fees, up from Bt7.1 billion. The largest cellular operator, Advanced Info Service, and telephone companies True Corp and TT&T hold concessions from TOT.

TOT’s traditional telephone service generated revenues of Bt7.46 billion in the first half, down from Bt8.6 billion, while its public-telephone business contributed Bt1.4 billion, a decline from Bt2.1 billion.

Its broadband Internet service provided Bt1.08 billion, a jump from Bt469 million, while its leased-line communications network chipped in Bt2.1 billion, up from Bt1.9 billion.

TOT is targeting revenues of Bt60 billion this year with a net profit of Bt6.9 billion. It is seeking new sources to shore up its declining revenues.
Copyright 2007 Thai News Service, Source: The Financial Times Limited

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