- "ThaiBev continues to emphasize the importance
of a quality work force, which forms a solid foundation from which to flourish in every
aspect of our business."
2013 was another challenging year for Thai Beverage Public Company Limited ("ThaiBev") as the business was affected by an increase in excise tax rates, heightened competition in the non-alcoholic beverage segment, and the precarious political situation at the end of the year. Nevertheless, being a resilient company, ThaiBev was able to generate a total revenue of Baht 155,771 million during the year, a slight decrease of only 3.3 percent from 2012.
Despite the slowdown in sales, we remained the leader in the spirits market in Thailand. We also widened our beverage production and distribution network to the regional level through our investment in Fraser and Neave, Limited ("F&N"), which also enabled us to further diversify our product portfolio as a total beverage company. We now boast a wide variety of products ranging from Thai spirits, Chinese spirits, Scotch whiskies, and beer, to drinking water, ready-to-drink green tea, carbonated soft drinks, electrolyte beverages, dairy products, and soya milk.
Remarkably, despite the excise tax hike which impacted net sale price, our spirits business achieved a total sales growth of 7.3 percent from the previous year, and net profit rose 3.2 percent year-on-year. This was attributable to our products' strong brand equity and the dedication of our sales team. In addition, we also enlarged our portfolio of premium spirits with the launch of 'Blend 285 Signature', which offers a uniquely appealing taste, and comes in elegantly designed bottles with classy labels comparable with that of eminent international brands. These initiatives were part of our thrust to develop high-quality products for sale at reasonable prices, so as to capture the higher end of the market. Our pricing strategy also resulted in favourable outcomes for our beer business, which achieved positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation, and reported a smaller net loss.
Notwithstanding the intensified competitive environment, we were able to maintain our market share in the non-alcoholic beverage segment as we continued to focus on raising consumer awareness of our quality products through marketing activities. Furthermore, we began distributing Oishi's green tea in neighbouring countries, such as Myanmar and Malaysia, expanding our reach beyond existing markets such as Laos and Cambodia where we already have strong presence. To expedite the growth of our young carbonated soft drink brand, 'est', we also embarked on a drive to enhance the brand's international image by sponsoring Manchester City Football Club. This sponsorship also aims to rapidly increase the brand's visibility among target consumers, especially within ASEAN markets.
In our food business, we placed great emphasis on expanding Oishi's network of food outlets, particularly in large cities in Thailand where there has been an increase in purchasing power. In addition, Oishi diversified beyond the buffet restaurant sector, opening other types of restaurants and launching new food products for sale at retail stores across the country. These include refrigerated food, frozen food, and Japanese snacks. The launches put us in good stead to capitalise on the continuously growing popularity of Japanese food in Thailand.
Executing our business expansion plan for ASEAN markets, we implemented our strategy of collaboration with F&N. The collaboration enables both companies to share experiences and resources, as well as tap on each other's expertise in the food and beverage business, in order to enhance both companies' capabilities and already comprehensive product portfolios.It also lays the foundation for ThaiBev to expand our consumer base to include muslim consumers, with the potential addition of halal food and beverage items produced utilising compliant ingredients, methods, and F&N's facilities in Malaysia.
A key pillar supporting our business expansion initiatives is the contribution of our employees. Recognising the importance of human resources, we rolled out a "Year of Greater Efficiency" campaign in 2013 as part of the "ThaiBev Core Values" project. As part of the campaign, we encouraged employees across ThaiBev and our subsidiaries to submit ideas under "The Greater Efficiency Contest 2013" to suggest ways to enhance work efficiency. The contest provided a platform for employees to showcase their knowledge and competency, share tips and best practices, and explore innovative solutions in a bid to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their respective business units.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, as well as our business partners for the trust placed in us. I would also like to express my gratitude to all our directors, executives, and employees for their resolve and their dedication to every mission over the past year. I truly hope that ThaiBev will receive your continuous support and encouragement as we jointly drive ThaiBev's business forward in the coming years, all the while upholding stellar standards of corporate governance and citizenship.
President and CEO