We made a trip to The Land of Smiles on September 8 and came back feeling afresh. Life is back to normal. Local stalls and restaurants we patronized were crowded. Coup? What coup? The perception of lack of value in overall stock market still holds but to our pleasant surprise, we met some companies which offer good growth at reasonable value. Some snippets:

Nearly 70% of Thailand’s total power generation is fueled by gas. According to the management of one company we met, Thailand’s gas reserves may not last beyond 6 years from now. 

Bangkok soil is one of the softest in the region. Piles used in construction of high-rise buildings or infrastructure projects typically have bigger diameters (to achieve better friction with the soil) and length (over 50m from surface versus 25 – 30m in other countries like Singapore and Malaysia). In the piling sector, 6 companies command nearly 90% market share in Thailand. 

Broadband internet penetration rate in provincial areas is less than 30%. Companies are offering 15Mb broadband package at an affordable THB599/month price tag. 
 
We purchased a TrueMove prepaid SIM card which offers 100 minutes of outgoing local calls and 1GB of data on 3G mobile internet, all at a price of THB279!

Thailand has about 1million workers from Cambodia and 3 million workers from Myanmar (unverified). Labour, especially blue collar workers, is harder to hire now. A very experienced domestic helper who can cook a decent meal could earn more than a fresh graduate.

According to the CEO of a broking firm, there are about 1 million broking accounts in Thailand but only 30 – 35% of those are active accounts. However, local investors (retailers plus institutions) are already a formidable force which constantly constitute over 70% of daily traded value in the market.

To prove to you we are serious when we say we like to visit a country and roam the ground, we have some pictures to show you.

Until next time...

- The end -

 
 

Here are the visits we have done since we started performing groundwork for the Fund:

That's 22 working days away from home (not counting the traveling time), with over 90 meetings in 9 country visits, and we haven't counted the meetings, conferences and AGMs/AGMs we attended in Singapore! As promised, we are visiting the ground trying to find some best ideas for the Fund.

We will be making a trip to Thailand soon to gain some insights into the market after a series of political events.

- The end -