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BTS ready to commit B20-30 billion
Published: 13/05/2010 at 12:00 AM

Newspaper section: Business

BTS Group Holdings Plc plans to invest 20-30 billion baht to develop six property projects this year, creating the Abstracts brand for condominiums and at the same time opening opportunities for owners of land plots near the Skytrain to join its business.

BTS managing director Kavin Kanjanapas said the planned investments would cover three hotels, two condominiums and a mixed-use project on six company-owned plots worth a total of 13 billion baht.

The mixed-use project, JJ Park Mor Chit Terminal, would occupy a 15-rai site at the BTS Mor Chit station near the TMB Bank headquarters. It will house an office building, a sports club and four condominium buildings, the first of which will be launched within this year.

Next month the company will launch the 350-million-baht Abstracts Sukhumvit 66/1 with 112 units priced at 75,000 baht a square metre on average, near the Udomsuk BTS station.

Yesterday the company launched the first phase of Abstracts Phahonyothin Park with 1,012 condominium units sized between 25.1 and 66 sq m and priced from 75,000 baht a sq m.

The 10-billion-baht development is located on a 21.5-rai site opposite Central Lat Phrao, comprising a total of 3,036 units. It was a suspended building acquired for 2 billion baht from Thai Asset Management Corporation, he said.

"We don't want to be one of the top five in the industry and don't want to be compared with other developers," said Mr Kavin.

"We will be more than a property developer, offering services and solutions to customers and partners."

Mr Kavin said buyers of the units would get cards for unlimited free rides on the BTS for 10 years. The card is transferable but the usage period will be limited to those buying for rental purposes.

The firm will also approach owners of plots near the BTS lines to become joint-venture partners to develop condominiums under the Abstracts brand.

BTS will also invest in three hotels at a cost of 3-4 billion baht each in the next three to four years. They include: Four Points by Sheraton on Sathorn Road near the Surasak BTS Surasak with 427 rooms; The Langham Sukhumvit in Sukhumvit Soi 6 near Nana BTS with 207 rooms and Langham Place Phayathai near Phayathai BTS with 394 rooms.

"Since we invest in the transport system, it's not strange that we also invest in property development. They create synergy," said Mr Kavin, a son of BTS chairman Kiri Kanjanapas.

The company expects revenue from property development to contribute 30% of total earnings in the next two years.

BTS operates four business units: the BTS skytrain operated by subsidiary Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc; media on BTS stations by VGI Global Media Co; property development by BTS Assets Co and subsidiaries; and other services including hotel management, construction and electronic-money cards.

The e-money services will be operated by Bangkok Smartcard System Co. They will include two services - common ticketing to be provided in mid-2011 and micro-electronic payment for transport and other services.

BTS shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 0.71 baht, down four satang, in trade worth 249.47 million baht.

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