Nature of Business
Structure of Shareholding
As of December 31st, 2019, the Company held its shares in the following subsidiary and affiliated companies and joint venture companies as follows:
|Name||% of shares held||Type of Business|
|PLE International Co.,Ltd. *||99.99||Construction Services|
|S A Future Property Co., Ltd. (formerly S A P S 2007 Holding Co., Ltd.)||99.99||Holding company for investments in other business|
|Techner Co., Ltd.**||50.00||Construction Services|
|1 Joint Ventures|
|1. PAR Joint Venture||100.00||Construction services for MRT Purple Line Contract 3|
* PLE International Co.,Ltd’s former name is Unima Engineering Co.,Ltd (UNIMA)
** Techner Co,Ltd, (TN) the company assigned Mr.Swake Srisuchart and Mr.Anuchar Nitayanupab to be the directors of TechnerCo.,Ltd working with the other directors being Mr. Jajaval Suriyanun and Ms. Supanun Julavajana , whom are assigned by the partners. TN ceased operations since 2009. At present, it is awaiting the Supreme Administrative Court's judgment. in a lawsuit against the National Housing Authority.
Unit : Thousand Baht
|Services||Performed by||% of shares held||2019||2018||2017|
|- PLE Inter (Unima)||99.99||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Civil Construction||- PLE||-||3,009,021||32.11||4,057,607||52.31||3,735,870||51.87|
|- PLE Inter (Unima)||99.99||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|- JV PAR||100.00||-||-||-||-||(1,999)||(0.03)|
|Bann Euaarthorn||- PLE||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Others||- Bumrung Muang Plaza Co., Ltd.||99.99||-||-||-||-||58,274||0.81|
Marketing and Competition Conditions
In developing the competition strategy and business policy of the Group, apart from maintaining the market share amid the fierce competition due to the economy slowdown, the Group also emphasizes on building the long term competitive capacities. Group’s competition strategies and business policies are as the following.
1. Reputation and experiences of engineering executives: Their capability and management have been proven as they can manage and bring the Group to survive during the economic crisis in 1997 and to continue to expand the business afterward. Upon the practical experience, valuable knowledge, widely reputable acceptance in the industry greater than 31 years, engineering executives can oversee and help the engineers who are the project managers of other projects. With these experiences, this enables the Group to quickly respond to any changes in the areas of engineering or new technology.
2. With their previous performance, the Group has highly gained acceptance and trust from customers for their work quality and service. Regarding the satisfactory of the customers, tremendous customers repeat the service with the companies and recommend us to other clients. The Group would like to maintain and enhance their reputation by performing the following key policies.
- Maintaining their quality and performance to be in the acceptable standard level
- Keeping integrity and business ethics
- Completing the project on time as promised to clients
- Taking care of customer’s benefits by considering the company as the owner of the project, and
- Offering after-sale service before and after the contract period
3. Capability of personnel – as human resource is deemed to be the most crucial factor of the business, the Group has a policy to enhance and improve skills and ability of staff. The following policies will enhance efficiency and maintain group’s competitiveness.
- Continuous improvement of staff knowledge and skills both technical and managerial knowledge
- Developing an accountability to the work
- Creating satisfactory and friendly work atmosphere
- Teamwork and good cooperation between engineering team and other staff is performed in an aim to achieve the objective in providing excellence service to customers.
- Staff performance is measured by Balance Scores Card system. Including system Talent Management and the succession plan system has been incorporated to plan the continuation of executive positions.
4. Strong financial status : the Group’s policy gives highly importance on strong financial structure by maintaining the debt to equity ratio in the low level as well as obtaining appropriate liquidity ratio. These shall mitigate the risks in doing business and enhance customer confidence toward the Group. As of 31 December 2019, the company’s Debt to Equity ratio was improved at 3.15 time due to the profit in the 2019. The company’s cash flow remained sufficient for its businesses with the liquidity ratio of 1.29 time as well as cash and cash equivalent of Baht 0.18 billion. Apart from the sufficient cash flow, the company has been supported by number of banks for business operation with the total credit facilities of Baht 28,448 million being mostly project financing basis
5. Efficiency of operational management :The Group establishes a policy to continuously develop central system for operational work and work process to enhance efficiency and ability to be responsive to customer’s demand. The Group has been certified ISO 9002:1994 for their quality management system since 31August 2000 and ISO 9001 Version 2008 since 28 October 2015 from BVQI Company Limited. The company continues to improve their quality management to be in line with ISO 9001:2008 by BVQI, who evaluate and certify the company’s continuality of the quality management system. BVQI will review the process every 6 months and also adjusts the review process in the form of Process Approach. In 2017, the company has already received the international standard certification of ISO 9001: 2015
6. Effective procurement :The Group has developed the procurement policy to create transparency and competition amongst suppliers to assure that production cost is within the appropriate level.
Over the past 3 years, the Company has started to take on more of government projects, despite the fact that the participation in the bidding of government projects requires consideration of details stated in the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the hiring organization. The bidding participants must have track record of working with the government sector or having been registered with particular government institutes. Currently, the Company has registered with such organizations as the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), Provincial Electricity Authority, Provincial Waterworks Authority, Bank of Thailand, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Chulalongkorn University, and Airports of Thailand (AOT), etc. However, the Group does have the policy to register with more organizations in order to enhance its capacity to take on more of government projects as the government has the policy to invest in different public utility systems, especially in electric power, mass public transportation and telecommunication on a continuous basis.
The projects taken on by the Group are contracting projects, assigned directly by customers or via subcontracting arrangements. Over the past several years, about 90% of the total project value have been generated from bidding, while the remaining have been generated from contacts and negotiation. The majority of the projects are ones that the Group got assigned directly by customers as the pricing and payment terms are more favorable. On the other hand, subcontracting projects serve more as a means to gain access to customers and new distribution channels via large construction companies or large international construction companies such as Italia-Thai Development PCL, Chor. Karnchang PCL, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction PCL and Marubeni Corporation, to create a portfolio in government projects and overseas market, since the majority of the government project bidding or overseas projects are based on single contracts for construction and engineering, and the main construction contractor will engage subcontractors to execute the engineering works.
Furthermore, the Group also focuses on building good relationships with customers in order to foster opportunities in taking on new projects from existing customers in the future. In 2019, the average proportion of projects from new customers is about 88.48%, and that of existing customers is about 11.52%. Current customers who have trust and credibility in the Company are, for example, Provincial Electricity Authority, Chulalongkorn University, hotels and resorts in Phuket Arcadia Group, Tops Supermarket, Tesco-Lotus, Central Plaza Department Store, Noble Group, CP Group and TCC, etc.
The Thai economy in the fourth quarter of 2019 expanded by 1.6 percent, compared with 2.6 percent in the previous quarter (%YoY). After seasonally adjusted, the economy grew by 0.2 percent from the third quarter (%QoQ sa)
On the expenditure side : the growth was supported mainly by continual expansions of private consumption and improving private investment while government spending, public investment and export of goods declined. On production side : the accommodation and food service activities and transportation and storage sectors accelerated. Meanwhile, the wholesale and retail trade sector continuously expanded. However, manufacturing, agricultural, construction, and gas sectors declined.
The Thai economy in 2019 expanded by 2.4 percent, compared with 4.2 percent in 2018. Export value declined by 3.2 percent and private consumption and total investment grew by 4.5 and 2.2 percent respectively. Headline inflation averaged 0.7 percent and the current account recorded a surplus of 6.8 percent of GDP.
Thai economy effected to Thai construction industry in 2019
Production in construction sector decreased due to the delay of budget process and the decrease in the public construction, while the private construction increased. Construction sector fell by 1.9 percent, compared with an expansion of 2.7 percent in the previous quarter, owing to the decrease in public construction by 6.1 percent, compared with a 5.1 percent expansion in the previous quarter. In details, government construction sharply decreased by 17.4 percent compared with a rose of 5.3 percent in the previous quarter whereas state-owned enterprises construction expanded by 15.2 percent. Private construction rose by 3.1 percent compared with a drop by 0.1 percent in the previous quarter, due to an expansion of non-residential construction such as commercial buildings and factory building and factory building especially in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) special zone, as well as the construction of mega-hotel in Bangkok and vicinity area. However, other constructions decreased compared to the figure of the previous quarter. Construction Materials Price Index declined by 2.8 percent, which decreased for two consecutive quarters owing to a decrease in steel and steel products (-15.2 percent), and cements (-0.2 percent), whereas prices of concrete products increased by 1.2 percent.
In 2019, construction sector expanded by 2.0 percent in total, slightly lower than a rise of 2.4 percent in 2018. Such expansion was mainly due to an increase in public construction which expanded by 2.4 percent (government construction rose by 0.7 percent, and state-owned enterprises construction expanded by 5.6 percent), Meanwhile, private construction rose by 1.4 percent.
The outlook for 2020
The Thai economy in 2020 is projected to expand by 1.5-2.5 percent, softening from 2019 due to impacts from the corona virus (COVID-19) outbreak, the drought conditions, and the delay in FY2020 budget. Nevertheless, the economy continues to be supported by (i) a gradual global economic recovery following easing trade tensions and lower risks of a no-deal Brexit; (ii) a favorable expansions of private consumption and investment of both private and public; (iii) key government stimulus measures; and (iv) a low growth base in the last quarter of 2019. In all, it is expected that export value will expand by 1.4 percent while private consumption and total investment will increase by 3.5 and 3.6 percent respectively. Headline inflation will lie in the range of 0.4 -1.4 percent and the current account will register a surplus of 5.3 percent of GDP.
Economic management for the remainder of 2020 should put emphasis on following issues: (1) Coordinating the monetary and fiscal policies to support the economy in the first half and to propel the recovery in the second half of the year, (2) Supporting the recovery of the tourism sector to be able to expanding the latter half in order to achieve 37.0 million of foreign tourists and 1.73 trillion baht of tourism revenue from foreign tourists by focusing on (i) exempting cancellation fee for foreign tourists that are unable to travel during the COVID-19 outbreak; (ii) encouraging Thais to make more domestic travel; (iii) campaigning tourism activities to stimulate the tourism in the second half; and (iv) considering additional holidays in the first half of the year without creating economic impacts; and (vi) implementing tourism supportive measures. (3) Fostering export growth to reach the target of at last 2.0 percent (excluding gold) mainly by: (i) propelling export strategies in 2020; (ii) fostering export of products which will benefit from trade diversion and those related products to the COVID-19 epidemic; (iii) assisting producers and exporters in the Chinese supply chain; and (iv) expediting process to finalize key trade negotiations. (4) Maintaining growth momentum from government expenditure and public investment by speeding up the disbursement of FY2020’s annual budget, carry-over budget, and the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) budget to reach no less than 91.2, 70.0, and 75.0 percent respectively. (5) Bulding up investors’ confidence and supporting private investment growth by: (i) monitoring and implementing investment stimulus measures; (ii) speeding up the implementation of key public infrastructure projects; (iii) pushing up key trade negotiations; and (iv) solving business constraints proposed by foreign investors. (6) Strengthening low income groups as well as those impacted by droughts, reduced tourists, and economic slowdown by providing particular care on (i) agricultures who work in the service sector during off-crop/cultivated season; (ii) employees in tourism and related sector; (iii) the SMEs; (iv) speeding up the disbursement of compensation for droughts impacts; and (v) the comprehensive water resource management.
Source : The National Economic and Social Development Board
Outlook of the Construction Industry
It has been forecasted that the overall construction investment in 2019, 2020 and 2021 is likely to grow by 3.5-5%, 5-7% and 7.5-9.5% YoY respectively (as shown in the figure), resulting from the ramping up of the government’s large construction projects and private sector investment that has been forecasted to grow continuously from increasing confidence.
There is a tendency for the government’s construction projects to expand. Upon incorporation of the new government, the expected growth rate of the construction value in 2019 has been forecasted to not be very high at the rate of 3.5%, due to the lack of clarity in the new government’s policies in the second half of the year. However, the expected growth rate during 2020-2021 is likely to be 5-7% and 8-10% respectively, because there are several large-scale new infrastructure projects, especially 1) projects in Bangkok and metropolitan, e.g. MRT Purple Line (Taopoon-Ratburana) 2) projects in the EEC zone, e.g. high-speed train connecting U-Tapao Airport and Laem Chabang Port Phase 3 and 3) projects in key provinces (Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phuket and Phitsanulok) such as light-rail trains and airport expansion. Furthermore, there are middle-scale and small-scale government projects for the fiscal budget, whereby the majority of them are expansion and highway network improvement projects of the Department of Highways and the Department of Rural Roads.
In this regard, over the next 3 years, it is expected that several of the government projects that are ready to proceed and approved by the cabinet will commence the investment endeavors in terms of the construction, transportation routing system and maintenance. Projects that can commence construction have to meet the following criteria; 1) the project is already in the contractor selection process 2) the bidding envelope is soon to be distributed and 3) the project has been approved by the cabinet to go ahead with the investment, whereby the Environmental and Health Impact Assessment has been reviewed by the Environment Committee.
In the next phase, there will be more of the PPP projects, whereby construction expenditure will be responsible for by both the government and the private sector. However, the format of the PPP depends on the government policy and the negotiation of interests based on the number of passengers as forecasted, though there is a likelihood that the majority of PPP projects are in the form of PPP Net Cost rather than PPP Gross Cost, because the private sector will be entitled the revenue collection right that helps alleviate the operating cost of the government.
The private sector construction projects are likely to increase in accordance with the economic condition and the public sector construction projects (crowding in effects). Hence, the value of private sector construction has been forecasted to expand by 4-5% in 2019, dropping slightly from 2018. The decelerated expansion is coherent with the economic slowdown, and the lagging progress of the government’s infrastructure investment projects, along with the strict measures of financial institutions in approving housing loans, including the impact from the new criteria of housing loan that was effective in April 2019, which may lead to limited growth of the overall housing construction business. In 2020 and 2021, the growth outlook has improved by 5-7% and 7-9% respectively, owing to 1) the intensive transportation system construction that will induce more private sector construction projects, e.g. more accommodations along the electric train lines in certain areas (e.g. Ratchada-Ladprao, Phaholyothin, Ramkamhaeng) 2) the EEC zone leading to more construction projects e.g. commercial buildings, industrial estates and hotels and 3) private sector construction projects e.g. mixed-use development projects (One Bangkok and the Grand Rama 9), which are a new approach of real estate development with a continuous growth outlook.
The construction contractors’ operating performance outlook over the next 3 years suggests continuous growth, whereby contractors that take on a lot of government construction projects will have an increased backlog. In 2019, the revenue in this segment will increase slightly, because large projects will have to wait for the new government in the second half of the year. They are likely to ramp up in 2020-2021, in pursuit of large and small investment projects that will commence at the same time. For contractors that emphasize on private sector construction projects, the revenue in 2019 is likely to decrease from the economic slowdown, the lagging progress of the infrastructure projects, as well as the stricter housing loan criteria that may impact entrepreneurs to make decisions to invest in new projects. During 2020-2021, there is a likelihood that revenue will improve from the real estate demand, following the economic condition and the government’s infrastructure construction projects.
For the revenue outlook categorized by the scale of contractors, large contractors have more chances of taking on government projects and the private sector’s large projects, as well as construction projects overseas, especially the CLMV countries, where a lot of infrastructure construction projects have been taking place continuously. However, in 2019, the revenue of large contractors may not increase all that much, due to the delayed payment from the government projects caused by the delayed incorporation of the new government in the second half of 2019, though the outlook shall improve in 2020-2021 in accordance with the clarity of the politics and the ramping up of large projects’ investment. For middle-scale and small-scale contractors, they will benefit from 1) sub-contracting opportunities from large contractors with excessive backlog, despite lower margins and 2) direct subcontracting from the expanded real estate projects. However, certain middle-scale and small-scale contractors may have limitations regarding financial management, preventing them from keeping a large construction material inventory or they may need to rely more on human labor than machinery, leading to higher operating cost and limited growth of the operating performance.
Apart from the fact that the number of construction projects in Thailand is likely to rise, those in CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) in the next 3 years also have potential to expand (considering from the gradually increasing construction value per GDP during 2012-2017, with 25% expansion rate in the construction sector in Cambodia, followed by Myanmar, Laos PDR and Vietnam, with 19%, 12% and 10% growth per year), presenting great opportunities for Thai contractors to acquire more projects. They are projects that Thai contractors are specialized in, with the expansion opportunity according to the government and the private sector’s investment plan in CLMV in the future.
The key factors that may affect the construction cost in the next 3 years are the construction material market outlook (accounting for 60% of the total cost) and labor cost (accounting for 20% of the total cost).
The overall price of construction materials is likely to remain stable in 2019 and will gradually increase in 2020-2021, following higher demand. The price of cement has a tendency to increase by 1-2% per year, driven by higher demand from several of the government and private sector projects commencing at the same time. Meanwhile, the price of construction steel is likely to decrease by -1.5% to -3.5% during 2020-2021, following the global steel price, which may cause the imported raw steel price to drop, consequently pressuring domestic steel price. However, it has been forecasted that steel price may rise by 2-4% in 2021, driven by higher demand from several train projects; inclusive of parallel-track trains, electric trains and high-speed trains, coupled with the government’s policy that supports the use of domestically sourced steel in order to minimize imports.
The issue concerning labor shortage is likely to impact only middle-scale and small-scale contractors because 1) these contractors still mostly rely on human labor, since construction technology that can reduce the use of physical labor requires high investment and 2) the majority of Thai laborers are not in favor of working in construction sites, calling for the use of foreign labor, and the relevant regulations may be stricter in the future. The labor cost should not have a significant impact on the construction cost, since the wage paid to the majority of skilled laborers is already higher than the minimum wage.
From Krungsri Research’s perspective, the growth of contractors’ revenue both from government and private sector projects in 2019 will be quite limited, due to the fact that the investment outlook should be clearer in the second half of the year after the incorporation of the new government, and revenue from both segments in 2020-2021 shall improve.
The contractors’ revenue from large civil engineering projects is expected to grow in accordance with the expansion of government projects that has a positive growth outlook in 2020-2021, with a promising revenue for large-scale and middle-scale contractors, due to their potential in handling large government projects; electric trains, and private sector projects; certain airports funded by privately held airlines. For small-scale contractors, revenue shall improve from sub-contracting opportunities from middle-scale and large-scale contractors allocating some portions of work to them.
The contractors’ revenue in the private sector construction business, especially accommodations, general buildings, and high-rise buildings has a moderate growth outlook, especially in 2019 with the economic slowdown, despite signs of improvement in 2020-2021, in pursuit of the private sector’s confidence in the investment that may increase following several infrastructure projects. If considering by the scale of revenue generated by large-scale and medium-scale contractors, the overall revenue should have a consistent growth, especially those who are specialized in mixed-use projects, with a gradually increasing backlog. Also, contractors taking on projects overseas, especially in CLMV, still have revenue generating opportunities from infrastructure projects, accommodation projects, commercial buildings and industrial factories, which are expanding continuously.
For small-scale contractors, the revenue outlook is likely to face a downward trend, owing to the fact that the small construction projects have not been recovered, coupled with the limitations regarding cost management, leading to lower profits.
Source : Krungsri Research Center
The competition from the numbers of companies in each business sector may reflect the competition situation in the market at certain level that the construction business for the SMEs may be the most aggressive. It is because of there are less barriers of entry due to fewer funds for investment, technology, expertise, and management when it is compared with a large contractor. Despite there are some obstacles in terms of the regulation and standards of business operation, the entry into the market is no difficult. Thus, there are many small contractors in the construction business.
The market for the large entrepreneur is of less competition due to high barriers of entry since the market requires a large amount of investment fund, more experience and expertise in particular areas. On the other hand, the competition in the market for middle entrepreneurs may have competition of which depends on volumes in each situation. When the economy is going well, the construction projects are quite a lot and the competition is not quite aggressive. However, if the economy is slowdown, the construction projects decrease in numbers, leading to serious competition since the numbers of the contractors have not changed. In addition, if there are large contractors in the competition, the competition is even more aggressive which may lead to the war price of the construction fee.
Moreover, when the competition is considered by the types of work from the government and the private sector, it is found that the construction market of the government sector, the government sector has its procedure of Pre-qualification to select appropriate contractors based on standards such as minimum financial status, minimum equipment and machine, and minimum personnel. Also, the market of the government’s construction has clearly classified the project’s value. The large contractors will involve in the large projects only. Thus, the high value government’s projects are always with the large contractors, reflecting a mild competition when it is compared with the contractors in other markets.
In terms of the construction market of the private sector, although most of the construction companies which are the listed companies in the Stock Exchange of Thailand indicate that the competition in the construction market of the private sector is quite aggressive, after consideration of the numbers of the projects which have already been signed in the hiring contracts, it is found that most of the companies received much of the projects whether condominium projects and housing projects. This is in line with the property market situation in 2009 onward which has gradually recovered by the property stimulation plan from the government and the economic recovery. The industrial construction and commercial construction had also clearly improved in 2010. However, it is found that during the economic crisis, the construction market of the private sector confronted high competition which led to cutting prices for survival.
Hence, the demand for construction services particularly in civil construction, design, procurement and installation of MEP for new projects and the old buildings under renovation has an opportunities to grow respectively. The contractors who have strong financials and reputation of completion of quality of works will have good potential to acquire more businesses. The several large contractors in Thailand including the company who have strong supply chain, financial and team works will continue to be competitive in this market. The company’s good track records and continued development in quality of works during more than 31 years in this industry is very significant part to encourage its competitiveness and create the opportunities to grow further.
Apart from the competition among the Thai contractors, the foreign contractors through its direct investment and Joint ventures with /Thai partners are other the main competitors. There is no records of the number of projects, which had been completed and done by those foreign contractors in Thailand. Therefore, it is too difficult to classify the capability of all those contractors. Each contractor has its owned specific skills and experiences, therefore it is depended on who can make differentiate of quality of works and services.
In 2019, the Company participated in several bid rounds for government and private sector construction projects, and won 14 projects altogether, with the total value of 7.32 billion Baht; government projects valuing 5.83 billion Baht and private sector projects valuing 1.49 billion Baht. When combining with projects on hands and those after realizing the revenue in 2019, the value of outstanding projects at the beginning of 2020 stood at 14.08 billion Baht, which will gradually be realized in the upcoming years. Considering from the overall operating performance in 2019, although the Company’s revenue from the construction business increased from 2018, the ability to generate profits still needs improvement. The net profit to revenue ratio is 2.3% in 2019, compared to 2.8% in 2018, partially due to higher competition among large contractors. With this, the Company’s work procedures need to be improved to be more effective and efficient, with the incorporation of advanced technology, equipment and machinery to facilitate construction and commissioning. Also, cost control measures implemented in 2019 have not yielded tangible results, though there was a better tendency regarding quality and standard of the work delivered, with maximum safety and awareness of the work environment, leading up to customers’ satisfaction.
In 2020, the Company is still firmly determined to improve the construction business operations; the Company’s core business, and to place great emphasis on encouraging human resource development to nurture expertise in different aspects, including management capabilities, career path, teamwork, performance measurement, and improvement of welfare to motivate staff members to strive for the best. The Company also takes supply chain development and securing potential alliances to acquire the government’s large projects and private sector projects very seriously to generate revenue and profits for sustainable growth in the long run.