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BUSINESS
 

New SF Corporation in partnership with Promenada

In the picture (from left) – Ms. Prasai Kankriengwong, General Manager; Ms. Ellen Wit, Head of Marketing; Tjeert Kwant, Chief Executive Officer and shareholder of ECC International Real Estate, developer of Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai; Mr. Suwat Thongrompo, President of SF Corporation; Mr. Suvit Thongrompo, Managing Director of SF Corporation and Ms. Suvannee Chinchiewchan, Deputy-Managing Director of SF Corporation.

Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai announced its partnership with SF Corporation, Thailand’s world class cinema chain operator. SF Corporation is focused on achieving nationwide growth and is looking for the best opportunities in provincial markets, of which Chiang Mai is the most significant and promising. Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai will be a key entertainment platform to support the group’s growth in the country’s north.
Mr. Tjeert Kwant, Chief Executive Officer and shareholder of ECC International Real Estate, developer of Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai said, “We are very excited that SF Corporation is our entertainment anchor. The high quality and creative designs of SF Corporation will be a great fit with Promenada Resort Mall and a valuable contribution to our leisure and lifestyle mix. SF Cinema recently signed a lease of almost 4,500 sqm encompassing eight high-tech digital screens including 3D. The cinema will serve as one of the mall’s main indoor entertainment components, and will be located on the 2nd floor of the right wing. We are convinced that the cinema operated by SF Corporation will be a great magnet, drawing audiences from across Chiang Mai and the Northern region to enjoy the latest and most interesting international and Thai movie releases.”
Mr. Suwat Thongrompo, President of SF Corporation, said “SF Corporation is pleased to partner with Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai, and together we shall bring the new innovative entertainment and world class movie theatres in a unique resort-style atmosphere to the most significant and promising Chiang Mai market. With Promenada’s experience and proven record of success as well as expertise in project management, we are confident that Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai will be successfully welcomed by people in the northern region of Thailand.
The Cinema operated by SF Corporation in Promenada Resort Mall Chiang Mai will offer a “resort style” cinema experience, which is uniquely aligned with Promenada’s resort mall concept. In line with that concept, the cinema will deliver an exceptional viewing and auditory journey in its eight world-class theatres well-equipped with the full entertainment of innovative Sony Digital Cinema 4K system in digital format including 3D system. Audiences are also provided with options of seating which include “Sofa Sweet”, “Premium”, and “Deluxe” to ensure the most comfortable movie experience. SF Corporation also offers a VIP Lounge, an exclusively private area for all customers.
SF Corporation currently has three cinema brands: SF World Cinema, SF X Cinema, and SF Cinema City, with a total of 32 branches. SF Cinema City’s movie theatre and entertainment businesses continue to enjoy annual growth and business expansion, while providing a high-quality customer experience. (PR)


Chiang Mai Business group

The Chiang Mai Business Group, originally founded to encourage business ties between British and Thai business people has expanded its reach to include business people of all nationalities. The group met at the Shangri La Hotel on April 8, 2013. Speakers included K. Ruchuchai Potha Head of the Employment Creation Group and acting Head of the Provincial Office for Employment (Ministry of Labour) and Dr.Ongart Kittikhunchai, Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (Chiang Mai). The group discussed the minimum wage and how it affects businesses and plans to become a forum and resource pool for business people in Chiang Mai to explore regional business opportunities. (Photo courtesy of CityNow!)


Buy Priceline Stock And Book Your Next Visa Run

By Don Freeman
Just the other day I had a client asking me how he can save some money on his next visa run. He wants to explore more of Southeast Asia and has gotten tired of making the usual trip to Cambodia, Laos or KL. That’s when I told him about Priceline.com. Priceline is the famous “Name Your Price” website in the United States. Here in Asia though, we use the Priceline subsidiary Agoda.com for hotels and in Europe we use their Booking.com division.
I have used Agoda.com to explore the Philippines, Bali, Malaysia and Vietnam. Each time I was saving anywhere from 10% to 50% on hotel rooms. The best part is that I got cash rewards for each booking I made and was able to redeem them on my other trips. I’ve gotten free weekends from my reward travel. Those rewards come in handy for an expat that has to make a visa run and is looking to save money. Phuket currently has 1117 hotels listed on Agoda ranging in price from $20 to $1800 dollars per night.
Priceline.com operates as a one-stop online destination to serve all your travel needs. You can book flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and cruise trips. The company’s Agoda.com provides hotel reviews and lets you know the key attractions for each city before you book.
Personally I use Agoda. com for only booking hotels. My last trip to Kuala Lumpur found me too busy to book a room in advance. I had the taxi to take me to Bukit Bintang and drop me off in front of some moderately priced hotels. At the desk the price was $90 USD per night. Standing at the front counter I went online, which took me three minutes, and booked the same room on Agoda for $52 USD. A 42% savings ! The desk clerk had a big smile on his face as I handed him my reservation number.
Actually the best part about Priceline has been the stock performance. Over the past 8 years, the stock has risen an astounding 3000%. I have owned it since 2007 and it has been my best performer after Netflix. I still think the stock is going higher and here’s why:
the company is best positioned among the online travel companies for the international market
Priceline.com is acquiring the US travel software company Kayak.com
the company is trading with a cheap forward P/E of 15 and has a 35% operating margin
Priceline has $103 per share in cash
the stock is trading above both the 50 and 200 day moving averages
Booking.com is the #1 online site for European hotels
80% of the company’s profits come from international travel
Company continues to take market share from Expedia and Orbitz
Priceline is using pricing power to negotiate hotel rates for customers
Subsidiary traveljigsaw and rentalcars.com have strong growth in car rental market
JP Morgan raised its target on the stock to $835 and Jeffries upped theirs to $820
Priceline has beat earnings estimates for 12 straight quarters
The stock has a PEG ratio of 0.95, anything less than 1 is considered undervalued
Priceline.com (PCLN) is currently trading at $713.50 with a 52-week range of $553 to $774. The stock has dipped recently because its Kayak acquisition will close later than expected. Kayak will give a big boost to the company’s bottom line due to Kayak’s metasearch software. Metasearch allows users to send requests to other search engines and databases to get a single list of results. This acquisition will put Priceline ahead of its rivals Expedia and Orbitz.
The technical picture looks great. Priceline.com gained over 50% in 2012 and has been forming a quiet consolidation for 12 months. Often leadership stocks will post strong price gains (50 to 100%) then fall asleep for 6-12 months before heading higher once again.
The one uncertainty overhanging the stock is Europe. Many analysts are worried that Europe may stay in recession longer than expected. The recovery that many had hoped for this year has yet to materialize. Uncertainty with the recent Italian elections and Cyprus bailout aren’t helping to calm markets either.
I’m not as concerned though as others considering the company has weathered the storm very well the past 5 years Europe has been in crisis. Bookings in Europe have been rather consistent and considering that only 25% of the European hotel market is online, there’s plenty of room for growth. Priceline has less than 10% of total hotel bookings in Europe. There’s considerable room for growth in Europe and people are still traveling to Europe and making hotel reservations.
Besides penetrating the European hotel market further, the fastest growth for Priceline is in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. These countries have a burgeoning middle class that want to travel. Among the online travel sites, Priceline is best positioned in the growing $600 billion international travel market.
So when the time comes to make your next visa run or when you need to just get a break from Thailand, take a look at Priceline.com and one of their sites. They can help save you up to 50% and if you’re looking at Priceline for your next investment, give me a call and we can discuss the merits of putting Priceline in your portfolio.
Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: [email protected]


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

New SF Corporation in partnership with Promenada

Chiang Mai Business group

Buy Priceline Stock And Book Your Next Visa Run