February 21, 2018 / 4:48 PM / a month ago

Thai mall operator profits up 47 percent on tourism boom

BANGKOK, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Thai retail property developer Central Pattana Pcl (CPN) reported net profit of 13.6 billion baht ($432.3 million) for its 2017 fiscal year on Wednesday, up 47 percent from a year earlier.

CPN beat estimates of 12.1 billion baht based on a Reuters survey of 11 analysts.

CPN, which operates 32 shopping malls in Thailand, has been one of the main beneficiaries of the country’s tourism boom, led by Chinese arrivals.

More direct flights from China, a visa fee discount and waiver incentives led to strong inbound tourism, CPN said in a statement.

Thailand received 35 million tourists in 2017 and expects 37.55 million arrivals this year.

Revenue from rent and services were up 3.2 percent from the year earlier, reaching 26 billion baht.

Average occupancy rates in its retail properties stood at 92 percent, lower than 94 percent a year earlier due to major renovations.

CPN, part of Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirativat family, plans a compound annual growth rate of at least 13 percent until 2022 focusing on mixed-use and residential developments, increasing rental rates and new malls in Southeast Asia.

Hotel revenue grew 10 percent to 1.1 billion baht, with an average occupancy rate of 93 percent, up from 83 percent a year ago, due to a higher number of tourists, it said.

CPN expects its new mall on the tourist island of Phuket to open by mid-year and another mall in Malaysia to open by year-end.

$1 = 31.4600 baht Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Adrian Croft

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