Thailand’s Central Group said it plans to expand overseas, earmarking an investment of 20 billion baht (US$663 million) to facilitate the growth.
The retail company, one of Thailand’s largest in the sector, said it plans to invest in Vienna, Osaka, and Turin, making the most of a strong local currency, according to Reuters.
Central Group told media outlets that a strong baht, which has increased against most major global currencies, is part of the reason for the timely investment. The Thai baht firmed over 7% against the dollar since the start of 2019.
“Central Group continues to embark on our strategy to ride on global tourism trend by developing high-quality flagship projects in major tourist cities,” said chief executive Tos Chirathivat, part of the billionaire Chirathivat family who own Central Group.
In Vienna, Central Group recently formed a joint venture Austria’s Signa Group. The deal will involve the opening of a 58,000-square-metre luxury establishment in the nation’s capital, comprised of retailers, a hotel and restaurants.
In Japan, a 9-billion baht joint investment has been inked with Taisei Corp and Kanden Realty & Development. The deal includes an Osaka mega hotel, boasting some 500 rooms, and the reopening of a Rinascente department store in Italy’s Turin.
The investment news comes on the back of Central Group’s decision to invest 22 billion baht in new malls and store renovations in Thailand. At the time of the announcement, the storied Thai company said it would focus on cities outside of the capital, Bangkok.
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The Thai baht has been Asia’s best performing currency so far this year, firming over 7% against the dollar.