November 4, 2019 / 4:50 AM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-Thai retailer Central Group plans $663 mln overseas investment

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BANGKOK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Thailand’s top retailer Central Group said on Monday it plans to invest over 20 billion baht ($663.13 million) in Vienna, Osaka and Turin, capitalising on a strong local currency.

The investment plans can be partly attributed to the strong baht, which has strengthened against most major currencies, the company said.

The Thai baht has been Asia’s best performing currency so far this year, firming over 7% against the dollar.

Central Group’s investments include a joint venture with Austria’s Signa Group in a 58,000-sqare-metre luxury mixed-used project in Vienna, which will comprise a hotel, restaurants and retail shops.

“Central Group continues to embark on our strategy to ride on global tourism trend by developing high-quality flagship projects in major tourist cities,” Chief Executive Tos Chirathivat said.

The company, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, said other parts of the investment include a 9 billion baht joint investment with Japanese firms, Taisei Corp and Kanden Realty & Development in a 515-room hotel in Osaka, Japan and the re-launch of its Rinascente department store in Italy.

Its overseas expansion plans came in weeks after the retailer announced its decision to invest 22 billion baht in new malls and store renovations in Thailand, with a focus on cities outside Bangkok.

Central Group, the family conglomerate with a seven-decade history, was among the first to introduce shopping malls to Bangkok.

$1 = 30.1600 baht Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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