Leicester owner’s death comes as Thai duty-free monopoly is about to end

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Thailand’s King Power International Group, the country’s largest duty-free retailer, may find itself facing a challenge to win the upcoming new auction to operate duty-free shops in cities and at airports in Thailand as its exclusive contract expires in 2020.

The clan behind the group, the Srivaddhanaprabha family, is in a difficult situation after the group’s charismatic founder and business leader Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed on October 27 along with four others when his helicopter crashed and exploded outside the King Power Stadium in central England after a Premier League match of his soccer club Leicester City.

His death comes just weeks before Thailand plans to hold an auction for its duty-free and commercial concessions, threatening to end King Power’s near-monopoly of the sector which has helped Vichai amass a net worth of $3.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

State-owned Airports of Thailand Pcl (AOT), which grants the concessions, may consider awarding licenses to multiple operators, analysts said. Unlisted King Power currently controls more than 90 per cent of Thailand’s duty-free market, being a sole operator with concessions in all major airports in the country..

King Power may face Thai competition for the duty-free concessions in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Samut Prakan and at five major airports, including Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi. AOT’s plans to expand the latter will increase commercial and duty free space up for auction by around 70 per cent, increasing competition among retailers.

Duty-free rivals include Central Group, the Mall Group and South Korea’s Lotte Group, all of which are interested in bidding, analysts said. However, given the Srivaddhanaprabha family’s various connections with politicians, army top brass and state authorities, as well as the company’s financial strength it may be difficult for other companies to swoop in, although the question remains how effective King Power can be in engaging the government and other stakeholders without Vichai’s leadership.

The group is now expected to be headed by Aiyawatt, Vichai’s youngest son and chief executive officer of King Power, and Vichai’s widow Aimon. King Power did not confirm the succession yet.

  

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thailand’s King Power International Group, the country’s largest duty-free retailer, may find itself facing a challenge to win the upcoming new auction to operate duty-free shops in cities and at airports in Thailand as its exclusive contract expires in 2020.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thailand’s King Power International Group, the country’s largest duty-free retailer, may find itself facing a challenge to win the upcoming new auction to operate duty-free shops in cities and at airports in Thailand as its exclusive contract expires in 2020.

The clan behind the group, the Srivaddhanaprabha family, is in a difficult situation after the group’s charismatic founder and business leader Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed on October 27 along with four others when his helicopter crashed and exploded outside the King Power Stadium in central England after a Premier League match of his soccer club Leicester City.

His death comes just weeks before Thailand plans to hold an auction for its duty-free and commercial concessions, threatening to end King Power’s near-monopoly of the sector which has helped Vichai amass a net worth of $3.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

State-owned Airports of Thailand Pcl (AOT), which grants the concessions, may consider awarding licenses to multiple operators, analysts said. Unlisted King Power currently controls more than 90 per cent of Thailand’s duty-free market, being a sole operator with concessions in all major airports in the country..

King Power may face Thai competition for the duty-free concessions in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Samut Prakan and at five major airports, including Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi. AOT’s plans to expand the latter will increase commercial and duty free space up for auction by around 70 per cent, increasing competition among retailers.

Duty-free rivals include Central Group, the Mall Group and South Korea’s Lotte Group, all of which are interested in bidding, analysts said. However, given the Srivaddhanaprabha family’s various connections with politicians, army top brass and state authorities, as well as the company’s financial strength it may be difficult for other companies to swoop in, although the question remains how effective King Power can be in engaging the government and other stakeholders without Vichai’s leadership.

The group is now expected to be headed by Aiyawatt, Vichai’s youngest son and chief executive officer of King Power, and Vichai’s widow Aimon. King Power did not confirm the succession yet.

  

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