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LH to develop Terminal 21 malls in Pattaya, Phuket

SET-listed property developer Land and Houses Plc (LH) plans to spend 14 billion baht to build Terminal 21 shopping centres in Pattaya and Phuket.

The investment value of the two shopping malls is estimated at 7 billion baht each, compared with the 3-billion-baht price tag of the first Terminal 21 in Bangkok, LH chairman Anant Asavabhokin said without giving a time frame for development.

The new malls are part of the company’s 20-billion-baht expansion plan over the next six years. Terminal 21 Korat is another project in the pipeline. LH said recently that it would begin developing the shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima province next year.

Mr Anant spoke of great potential in the retail business, particularly upcountry, but said LH would use caution next year while awaiting a clearer economic picture.

Apart from shopping malls, the company will turn its attention to hotels and property investments in Britain, he said.

LH will also continue to put money into rental property projects in the US, aiming to invest 15 billion baht over the next several years on top of 5 billion in past spending.

Next year’s investment budget will resemble this year’s amid an uncertain economic outlook, Mr Anant said.

“We will maintain business expansion [in terms of investment budget] next year to be equivalent to this year’s,” he said.

“It is our conservative investment plan in the current economic situation. We need to wait and see if there will be clarity both internally and externally, though local economic momentum is showing better signs.”

The government’s stimulus measures to aid low-income earners and small businesses will ease financial burdens and give a boost to Thailand’s overall economy, Mr Anant said.

In his view, the property market has already bottomed and is on track to rebound.

The property sector avoided big problems but was hit by weak domestic consumption and homebuyers’ difficulty in accessing bank loans, he said.

Next year, LH plans to launch a real estate investment trust (REIT) with shopping mall and hotel projects as the underlying assets, aiming to raise fresh funds for business expansion.

In other news, Land and Houses Bank (LH Bank) is still in talks with potential strategic partners from three Asian financial institutions.

The Asavabhokin family, the founder and major shareholder of property companies Land and Houses and Quality Houses, owns about 75% of LH Financial Group, the parent of LH Bank.

LH shares closed yesterday on the SET at 8.10 baht, up 5 satang, in trade worth 101.15 million baht.

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