King Power to court Chinese tourists after buying stake in Thai AirAsia

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Thailand’s King Power Group aims to court more Chinese tourists with its purchase of a controlling stake in Asia Aviation Pcl, in a bid to capitalise on booming tourism in the Southeast Asian nation.

King Power chairman, billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and his family announced on Monday they bought a 39.82 percent stake in Asia Aviation for $226 million.

The purchase prompted Vichai’s group to make a mandatory offer for shares of Asia Aviation it does not already own.

The group plans to spend 12 billion baht ($340 million) on buying the remaining 60 percent stake at 4.20 baht each, a 30 percent discount.

Asia Aviation, the Thai partner of Malaysia’s AirAsia, is a major shareholder in Thai AirAsia, Thailand’s largest budget airline which has almost a thirty percent market share.

Around ten million Chinese visited Thailand last year, of which six million shopped at King Power outlets, says Vichai, adding Chinese tourists are the firm’s largest customer base at around eighty percent of the total.

Vichai said King Power had cancelled plans to open a duty free shop in Tokyo after the Asia Aviation stake purchase, and the group was looking at plans to open three duty free shops in Myanmar due to an increase in tourism there.

SOURCE: Reuters via Yahoo News.

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