Nestle pushes into Indochina; Nestle: “Thailand is the centre of Asean countries”

Nestle pushes into Indochina

Positions itself to take advantage of AEC

Nestle Group (Thailand), the Swiss conglomerate’s Bangkok-based arm that also oversees operations in neighbouring countries, plans to double its business size in Indochina within 2016.

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Mr England (right) and Nopadol Sivabutr, the corporate affairs director, at yesterday’s briefing. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

The move is aimed at capturing a huge market opportunity when Asean becomes a single market in 2016, its top executive said yesterday.

“Thailand is one of the strategic countries for Nestle. We see a big opportunity to grow business and double our size by 2016, as Thailand is the centre of Asean countries,” said Wayne England, who was recently appointed chairman and chief executive of Nestle Group (Thailand).He said the focus of the world economy is increasingly turning to the East, and there is no doubt the region and Thailand stands to benefit from the development.

Nestle, which provides more than 50 food and beverage brands, has prepared itself for the opportunities that will come from the imminent formation of the AEC.

“More importantly, we are here [in Thailand] for 120 years, so we believe that we understand Thai consumers’ needs and their tastes very well,” said Mr England.

Apart from Thailand, Nestle also oversees Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, which also see high growth.

The company is setting up a company in Myanmar and considering its investment there.

“Thailand is the important engine, and we will roll out the things we achieve in Thailand in Myanmar,” he said.

Connectivity in the region is key to this, both in geographical and process terms.

“Thailand is a natural crossroads of Asean’s corridors. Our company is also working on improving our systems and work processes so that we can make faster decisions within the region and also be more flexible despite the size,” said Mr England.

It expects to expand the business of Nestle in Thailand by 11-12% per year.

To achieve its goal, Nestle Thailand will continue to focus on offering Thai consumers more nutrition, health and wellness products.

The executive said the company will continue to spend a substantial portion in the region including Thailand each year to upgrade facilities and technology and develop innovative products.

Currently, Nestle has 12 factories to support its business in Thailand _ half owned by the firm and half by exclusive co-packers.

The company also has research centres in various formats for different products in the country.

Mr England said he is confident Nestle’s business in Thailand will grow faster than in the rest of its regional network thanks to a strong foundation and efficient staff who can adjust themselves well to fiercer competition.

“Nestle is already 120 years side-by-side with Thais, and we look for another 120 years here and to becoming even closer to Thai families, focusing on finding solutions that meet their lifestyle changing and need,” he said.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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