Abhisit, Italian-Thai and Burma

13 10 2010

Yesterday, PPT posted some brief comments on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s one-day visit with the Burmese military regime, with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha along also. There he met met with Burmese leaders including Senior General Than Shwe.

In our post we commented on the fact that Abhisit is often said to be less comfortable with the situation in Burma. We added that this alleged discomfort didn’t stop Abhisit visiting and seeking deals with the military leadership.

Bangkok Pundit writes on this also and points to a Reuters story about the major deal that Abhisit apparently went to Burma to conclude with its military government. In that story, Reuters states that “Thailand’s top construction contractor, Italian-Thai Development Pcl (ITD.BK), said on Thursday it expected sign a contract for a deep-sea port project with Myanmar Port Authority by the end of November. The Dawei port project, with an estimated value of about 400 billion baht ($13 billion), will include a railway, roads, industrial estates, a refinery and a steel mill, senior executive Nijaporn Charanachitta told reporters.”

A deal of US$13 billion is huge for a company with paid-up capital of less than 5 billion baht  and assets of less than 38 billion baht (in its 2009 Annual Report). That Report says this about its hopes and plans: “The potential incoming projects for the year 2010 are the mega-projects of the government, especially the mass rapid transit projects, the railway double track projects, and the other infrastructure construction projects to stimulate the economy and employment. The Company also plans to expand its overseas business; for example the design and construction of a highway in Laos PDR and in Malaysia, the port and infrastructure projects in Myanmar, the residential construction projects in Bahrain and Libya, the infrastructure projects in Madagascar, the elevated highways in India and Bangladesh, the infrastructure construction for aluminum mining in Laos PDR, the coal mining and power plant in Myanmar, the airport renovation project of the Bangalore Airport in India, and the mass rapid transit system project of Chennai city in India. The increasing of investment projects both inside and outside Thailand is the sign of the strong growth of the construction service business, which will benefit the Company in the incoming year.”


Premchai Karnasuta, the boss of the firm and its major shareholder (see SET data) is listed in Forbes as Thailand’s 29th richest person, worth about US$220 million. For a little gossip on him, see here. Through the major owners in the Karnasuta family and Charanachitta families, Italthai is another major and related venture with interlocked directorates and shareholdings as well as inter-marriage. Premchai’s sister, Nijaporn Charanachitta is listed by Forbes as the 28th richest in Thailand, with $230 million. She chairs the Oriental Hotel and the Amari Group. Together the siblings control 30% of Italian-Thai. Considered as a family, they would rank in the top 15 in a list of wealthy non-royals in Thailand.

So when Bangkok Pundit says “ITD are a very well-connected company,” that is something of an understatement. According to some reports, their links are to well-connected palace types as well as Thaksin Shinawatra and Sondhi Limthongkul (when he was still a Thaksin fan). But 2002 seems a long way in the past now and political allegiances have split apart.

PPT readers are welcome to send any further links they have on the company and its owners.



6 responses

13 10 2010
Tweets that mention Abhisit, Italian-Thai and Burma « Political Prisoners in Thailand -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NEWSpace, อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร. อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร said: Abhisit, Italian-Thai and Burma: Yesterday, PPT posted some brief comments on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s o… http://bit.ly/aFxCRY […]

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Italian-Thai Tavoy strike | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] deal for Tavoy/Dawei that was inked during a visit to Burma by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in October 2010 (see here also). In January 2011 we also posted regarding the potential impact of the deal. We had […]

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[…] we had on the well-connected Italian-Thai company’s huge investment in Tavoy/Dawei in Burma here, here and […]

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[…] earlier posts on the project were here, here and […]

22 05 2012
Dumping more taxpayer money for the benefit of royalists « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] earlier posts on the project were here, here and […]

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