Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thailand's Loxley Internet set to expand to Vietnam

Loxley set to expand to Vietnam
Loxley Plc, the 69-year-old trading firm better known for its high-technology, communications and construction businesses, plans to expand its consumer product-distribution business to Vietnam and Dubai this year.

A number of local distributors would be appointed in both countries, said Suraphand Bhasitnirandr, the company's executive vice-president and CEO for the trading business.
Loxley has already had a strong network in Vietnam after exporting shrimp feed and fibre products there for almost five years, with sales of 200-300 million baht last year.

Seeing a lot of opportunities there, Mr Suraphand said, the company wanted to start its consumer-products business by the middle of this year and to enter Dubai in the second half.''We recently joined a trade fair in Dubai and the feedback was very positive,'' he said. ''Many traders are interested in our products, particularly our Joyce herbal cream for women and men,''
Currently, exports contributed only 4-5% to the overall sales of Loxley but serious expansion overseas in the next two years would help double the proportion to 10%.

Locally, Mr Suraphand said he was very optimistic about the economy this year, saying Loxley expected revenue from the trading business to rise by 20% to 7.2 billion baht.

''Populist policies will make Thais confident in our country's economy and consumers' purchasing power will turn around this year, as the new government has to do more than just invest in infrastructure projects to stimulate purchasing power,'' he said.

Additionally, many retailers will continue to open their outlets. All of these will benefit Loxley's trading business, which include chemical materials and consumer products.

Moreover, the company will generate more income from its direct-sales firm, L- Direct, which was officially launched yesterday.

Mr Suraphand said sales of L-Direct were 100 million baht last year and would rise to 300 million baht this year before hitting the one-billion-baht mark over the next three to five years. L-Direct plans to spend 20 million baht on product development and marketing activities this year.

Currently, the direct-sales business contributes about 1-2% to Loxley and the company aims to lift the share to 15-20% over the next three to five years.

L-Direct distributes 61 products, ranging from skin care, beauty care, food supplements and household goods. It had about 100,000 members last year, half of whom are active. The company targets another 100,000 members this year.

L-Direct, however, is not Loxley's first foray into direct sales. It entered the business several years ago but withdrew from the market.

''We were not successful in the direct-sales business then because it was not the right time to enter the market. But now, we are ready and confident that L-Direct will be among the top five players in the future,'' said Thongchai Lamsam, the president of Loxley.

He added that the market had changed dramatically and some products needed to be sold through the direct-sales channel.

Mr Suraphand said the company was also interested in expanding its direct-sales business overseas in the future.

''The direct-sales business will help fulfil our distribution network _ from retail, wholesale and online to end-users,'' he added.

Loxley shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 2.52 baht, down four satang, in trade worth 45.46 million baht.