Shin to focus on core telecoms and media business

3 Jul 2007

The newly appointed chairman of Thai conglomerate Shin Corp, Somprasong Boonyachai, said that, under his management, the company would focus on core telecommunications and media businesses, whilst exploiting new revenue streams in response to technological changes and customer demand. He confirmed that Shin had no plans to sell off Shin Satellite, saying the satellite business remained a key growth driver with a clear role in its corporate strategy, and that the firm had already addressed key problems including transferring ownership of satellites to the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, and a shareholding restructuring under which 58% is held by retail investors and 40% by Shin. Shin was founded by deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and Mr Boonyachai this week succeeded Boonklee Plangsiri, who was considered a close ally of Shinawatra. He said the group was now seeing positive growth momentum after struggling in the face of anti-Thaksin sentiment, as well as opposition to its takeover by Singapore investors, which had tested the confidence of the company’s shareholders and creditors. He also said Shin was determined to operate in a ‘politics-free’ environment under ‘a single objective of good governance’. Under its new structure, Shin consists of three business lines: wireless telecommunications, satellite and international businesses, and media and advertising. The new chairman conceded the group lacked the expertise and personnel for some non-core businesses such as the low-cost airline Thai AirAsia, which was bought out by the airline’s management last month. According to the Bangkok Post, Shin has THB1.5 billion in cash with no debts, but the group’s flagship GSM mobile unit, Advanced Info Services (AIS), Thailand’s largest cellco by subscribers, has debts of THB30 billion while Shin Satellite owes THB14 billion.