Wealth and the floods

17 11 2011

The Bangkok Post reports that those good souls at the country’s biggest conglomerates are doing their bit for the victims of the flooding.

The Post reports that Thai Beverage Plc, Advanced Info Service, True Corp, Central Group, GMM Grammy, Muang Thai Life Assurance, ICC International, Bangkok Bank, Major Cineplex, Thai Union Frozen Products, BTS Group Holdings and Mitr Phol Sugar are getting together and planning to raise 100 million baht over eight months.

That sounds like a lot, right? Well, not really. Thai Beverage had sales of 121.7 billion baht in 2010 and a net profit of 10.7 billion baht. The boss of the company, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, was reported to have a net worth of $4.3 billion in March 2011. The unlisted Central Group had total sales turnover over 119 billion baht in 2010 and probably pretty neat profits too. So 100 million from a dozen companies starts to sound a tad mean.

But wait, it isn’t all coming from them: “each business would contribute seed money and fund activities to raise more funds.” Yes, we know some of these companies have done more than this in recent days, but all this palaver in the Post is about public relations.

We suspect this statement from the Major Cineplex Group Chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck is much closer to a statement of how the big boys in town really think. He is reported to have stated: “We haven’t seen much impact in the short term [from the current floods]…. The massive flood is still better than the 1997 financial crisis when many millionaires went bankrupt. The flood disaster has affected middle- and low-income people the most.”

Better the lower classes take the hits than all those nice millionaires!


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