Moving Future Forward: WHA Group Upbeat for All-Round Transformation and Growth in 2020

Event Calendar Press Releases Wednesday January 29, 2020 13:35
Bangkok--29 Jan--Media planner Consultant

Following a solid 2019 marked by a series of achievements, WHA Group today unveiled its business plan for 2020 and beyond. Despite anticipated subdued growth worldwide, WHA Group foresees new developments and growth in its four business hubs, with its revenue and share of profit expected to increase by 15% and its EBITDA margin to be 40% driven by targeted land sales of 1,400 rai, new project rentals of 250,000 square meters as well as sales to REIT of approximately 150,000 square meters.

In 2019, WHA Group confirmed its status as Thailand's number 1 developer of Logistics Properties, Industrial Estates, Industrial Utilities and Power and provider of Digital Platform, with an estimated Revenue and Share of Profits of THB 13.5 billion and a Total Asset Value of THB 82 billion.

Among its most significant achievements in Thailand were the opening of a new 2,620 rai industrial estate (WHA ESIE 3); the signing of major deals with strategic partners in Logistics as well as in Utilities and Power; the launch of new utility products such as Demineralized Water and Wastewater Reclamation; the commissioning of one of Thailand's first industrial waste-to-energy power plant, Chonburi Clean Energy (CCE), where WHAUP is a partner with Suez and Glow Energy and the signing by WHAUP of a 5-MW solar rooftop covering 31,000 square meters, the largest solar carpark project in Thailand.

With a record 80 new customers and 130 new contracts last year, WHA Group can proudly claim a portfolio of 900 customers representing a total of 1,450 contracts.

WHA Group pursued its international expansion, specifically in Vietnam, with the substantial completion of an initial 145-hectares (1,000 rai) area as part of the first phase of WHA Industrial Zone 1 – Nghe An, including a new office building to welcome its customers. The Group, via its subsidiary WHAUP, signed a partnership agreement with Aquaone Corporation and acquired 34% equity in Duong River Surface Water Plant, one of the leading water provider to Vietnam's capital city of Hanoi. Furthermore, in a strategic move to secure sources of water for its industrial customers in WHA Industrial Zone 1 - Nghe An, it also purchased 47.3% in Cua Lo Water Supply in Nghe An province, Vietnam.

WHA Group's four Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) continue to deliver remarkable growth in total assets value of over 45% per annum to reach a total of THB 55.4 billion at the end of 2019. The market capital value of both WHART and HREIT increased by 77% and 30%, respectively.

"Despite last year's challenging economic situation, we were able to deliver a solid growth of 22% while strengthening our positions across our four business hubs and preparing for further developments, not only in Thailand but also in Vietnam," declared Ms. Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, WHA Group Chairman of the Board and Group Chief Executive Officer.

"We will keep monitoring selected key events in 2020 such as the global trade tensions, the US Presidential Election, impact of new technologies and potential disruption as well as climate and environment issues. Those events may provide us with business opportunities." explained Ms. Jareeporn. "For instance, we observed that the US-China trade row resulted in a wave of Chinese investments to Thailand, which now accounts for over one third of foreign direct investments in the Kingdom. Based on BOI applications, China became the 1st foreign investor for the first time, ahead of Japan. This benefitted WHA Group, with land sales to a total of 45 companies from China and Taiwan which represented more than 60% of our total land sales last year," she continued.

Similarly, progress in the Eastern Economic Corridor's infrastructure projects, such as the high-speed train airport link and the U-Tapao development, will have a positive impact on WHA Group's businesses due to its large available land bank and its track record in successfully attracting investors in those strategic Provinces of Thailand

Strategic Directions Across WHA Group's Four Business Hubs

For 2020 and the years beyond, WHA Group has identified five strategic directions focusing on extending its number 1 position in its core businesses, further expanding internationally, growing its product portfolio with innovative and technology-driven solutions for customers, developing win-win partnerships and maximizing WHA Group synergies as well as continuing its digital transformation.

  • WHA Logistics will seek to consolidate its long-term partnerships, especially in E-Commerce, while focusing on high-value properties in target industries including Next-Generation Automotive, Food Processing, and Aviation & Aerospace, Robotics. WHA Logistics will continue to embrace new technologies to introduce new features of the innovative Smart Warehouse. New projects to be launched including E-commerce properties, and new rent in 2020 are targeted to be 250,000 square-meters which will bring WHA Logistics' area under ownership and management to 2,560,000 square-meters. Also, the company targets to sell the property to the REIT of approximately 150,000 square meters in 2020. In addition to the Group's existing footprint in Thailand and Indonesia, further opportunities will be explored in Vietnam.
  • WHA Industrial Development (WHAID) will extend its leadership in Thailand, with the construction of the Group's 11th industrial estate (WHA RY 36) to start by the end of 2020, and the development of the expansion of WHA ESIE 4 as well as another 3 industrial estates by the year 2023.

Determined to embrace innovative technologies for the benefit of its customers, WHA ID will further develop its concept of "Smart Eco Industrial Estates". Smart technologies will be encouraged and used across the whole spectrum of services provided to customers, from online monitoring systems for "Smart Mobility" to traffic control and drones for "Smart Security", or FTTX and Cloud for "Smart Communication". Similarly, smart technologies will apply to utilities, such as water metering, and power, for smart grid and energy monitoring systems.

In Vietnam, WHA ID will accelerate its sales efforts to attract investors to one of the highest quality standard project in the North Central Region, WHA Industrial Zone 1 – Nghe An. In parallel, WHA ID will further progress on the issuance of permits and licenses to develop the remaining of the 498-hectare Phase 1.

  • WHAUP will extend its reach with new utility products and will enlarge its power portfolio with innovative energy solutions.
  • In Utilities, WHAUP will increase its expertise to non-WHA industrial estates in both Thailand and Vietnam, and will continue to widen the scope of its product offering to include wastewater reclamation, demineralized water and seawater desalination. In Vietnam, where it already acquired equity stakes in 2019 in water companies, WHAUP will continue to explore value enhancing opportunities in industrial and municipal water as well as wastewater treatment projects.
  • In Power, WHAUP will broaden its portfolio with the development of renewable energy solutions. Following the inauguration of Chonburi Clean Energy (CCE) industrial waste-to-energy plant in November 2019, WHAUP will also grow its solar rooftop activity to industrial customers. It will continue its collaboration in conventional power with its long-term partners and in natural gas distribution with GULF, Mitsui and Tokyo Gas. Following the signing of a Memorandum of Undertsanding (MOU) with PEA, a joint feasibility study on innovative energy projects will be conducted. New technologies including smart microgrid and peer-to-peer energy trading will be further explored.
  • WHA Digital Platform aims to support all activities of the Group across its business hubs. FTTx will equip, at least partially, all of the Group's 10 operating industrial estates in Thailand by the end of 2020 in order to enhance digital connectivity in WHA industrial estates. Furthermore, by leveraging on WHA Group's large customer base, WHA Digital Platform will continue to gain traction in its data center business.

"With the plans and strategies we are implementing, plus our prospective projects in hand, we are confident that we will continue to deliver strong financial performance in 2020 and beyond. In 2020, we expect our revenue and share of profits to increase by 15% from last year while sustaining our high profitability level with EBITDA margin of 40%. To position the Group for sustainable growth in the future, our forecasted 2020-2024 investment plan totals THB 52,000 million while targeting interest bearing debt to equity ratio of not more than 1 time.. We can strive forward confidently, thanks to our established strengths and capabilities to adapt to the changing world. Together with our customers, business partners and other stakeholders, WHA Group can make a difference" concluded Ms. Jareeporn.

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