By Watchiranont Thongtep
After its acquisitions of Wall Street English and the Jeffer Steak restaurant chain initiated last year, Wave Entertainment is continuing its diversification plan by investing in retail enterprises and new media as part of its ambitious goal to earn Bt8 billion in annual revenue by 2017.
Chairman and chief executive officer Matthew Kichodhan said yesterday that the acquisitions were expected to be sealed this year. His company is in talks with several other companies on options ranging from mergers and acquisitions to joint ventures.
“A retail business would complete our lifestyle business unit, which currently includes the Jeffer Steak restaurant chain and Wall Street English schools, while new-media business would be operated under our entertainment unit,” Matthew said.
Currently under the entertainment business unit, Wave TV is producing programmes for Channel 3 while iWave organises large-scale concerts.
Apart from that, Wave Entertainment also invests in the energy business via a 20-per-cent stake in the listed company Thai Solar Energy.
Matthew added that next month, the company’s board would propose to the annual general meeting a par split of ordinary shares from Bt10 per share to Bt1 per share. The board will also propose to the AGM a capital increase under a general mandate. The capital would partly be used for new investments and to reduce the interest burden incurred from the acquisition of Jeffer Steak and Wall Street English.
Of Wave’s total Bt324-million registered capital, 60 per cent if its shares are held by retail investors, followed by the Maleenont family’s businesses.
“We want to shift performance in the right way,” Matthew explained about his business direction, adding that his new investments must be profitable from Day 1. Jeffer Steak and Wall Street English were good examples in this regard.
Jeffer Steak’s 80 branches brought in almost Bt800 million in revenue last year, and in the first quarter of 2015 the chain showed a 9-per-cent year-on-year increase in sales, which was on target, said Jeffer managing director Kanchit Maneesuwan. His company expects to expand by at least 10 branches a year, both at home and in neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia.
Marc Nussaume, CEO of Wall Street English Thailand, said his language school also continued to expand by at least two new branches a year. This year, a new branch would open in CentralPlaza Westgate. The business expects to generate about Bt800 million in revenue this year.
As for Wave Entertainment, total income this year should surge to Bt2.1 billion from last year’s Bt634 million, Matthew said.
By 2017, the company aims for more than Bt8 billion in annual sales thanks to its new investments and expansion. The education and retail businesses would create Bt2.5 billion. The food group would make Bt3.3 billion and the entertainment business would generate about Bt2.2 billion.
Meanwhile another entertainment company, production house TV Thunder, is planning to list on the Market for Alternative Investment on May 8 to raise funds for new investments such as new equipment and studios.
Natakit Wannapinyo, vice president for business development of TV Thunder, said the new investment would enhance production capacity to meet the tremendous demands from the market after the launch of 24 digital TV channels last year. With new studios, the company expects to reduce its production costs by 15 per cent.