By ASINA PORNWASIN
TCC Group, a holding company of beverage tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, plans to take over a major stake in e-marketplace Tarad.com in a move that would mark the conglomerate’s deeper push into digital business, a source close to the deal said.
The source said TCC would announce the deal on March 27 by a subsidiary, Adelfos, which holds a major stake by Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, a son of Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi,
This deal forms part of the group’s plans to expand into e-commerce and other digital businesses, after the group took a 50 per cent stake in GMM Channel Trading Co Ltd and a47.62 per cent stake in Amarin Printing and Publishing Plc.
Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, founder and chief executive officer of Tarad.com, said in an interview with The Nation – while confirming the announcement for March 27 - that the agreement would help in the company’s expansion plans for sustainable growth.
However, Pawoot declined to disclose the name of the new partner, but he said he would still manage the business and would continue to hold a major stake in the company.
“Our new partner will help us to develop our business model of a marketplace business to succeed amid change in the business environment change, while we will continue to carry out our e-commerce business," he said.
Tarad.com, which was established in 2001, is among the top 10 of e-commerce businesses in Thailand. It has tarad.com, taradplaza.com, taradquickweb.com, and ThaiSecondhand.com. The company has also expands business model to include e-payments in line with pursuing a broader base of business in the digital economy.
Tarad.com derives a revenue contribution of less than 10 per cent from its e-marketplace.
Pawoot said Tarad.com had gradually adjusted its business model and direction from being |only an e-commerce platform |to offering total solutions for e-commerce businesses, such as a payment platform and advertising platform.
Currently, it has around 200,000 merchants on Tarad.com, 60 per cent are which are active.
The revenue model of marketplace sees that the company is not over-reliant on transaction-based income, which can vary on merchants’ sale volume. Instead, Tarad.com’s has broadened its revenue base, with inflows from services such as advertising and payments.
Pawoot declined to state Tarad.com’s gross merchandise value (GMV), since this measure has not been updated for some time.
Earlier, Marut Buranasetkul, managing director of T-Space Digital Co Ltd, a subsidiary of TCC Group, had said that TCC Group was interested in expanding its business into digital enterprises. The group’s investment in GMM and Amarin Printing and Publishing are examples of this thrust.
“We have continued to find new business platforms to expand our investment in digital businesses,” he said.
TCC Group has five businesses, covering food and beverages, industrial and trade, insurance and finance, property, and agriculture.
As of the end of 2017, Forbes magazine reported that Charoen Sirivadhabhakdi has total assets of US$17.9 billion, or about Bt500 billion.
A number of other Thai conglomerates have been expanding into the digital arena. Central Group, Thailand’s leading retailer, invested in JD.com, China's largest retailer and Chinese fintech company JD Finance, last year under an aggregate investment of up to US$500 million to establish two joint ventures in Thailand covering e-commerce and fintech services.
“When the business environment changes, big corporate have to expand their business to be relevant in the new era,” the source close to the deal said.