The Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) (Thai: เจริญโภคภัณฑ์; RTGS: Charoen Phokkhaphan) is a Thai conglomerate based in Bangkok. It is Thailand's largest private company and one of world's largest conglomerates. It consists of three core businesses that operate in agribusiness and food, retail and distribution, and the telecommunications industries with investments in over 30 countries, employing over 300,000 people.
|Dhanin Chearavanont, Chairman and CEO|
Real estate development
|Revenue||US$45 billion (2016)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Ping An |
Charoen Pokphand Foods
Super Brand Mall
Chester Grill Restaurants
It is the largest shareholder in the Chinese financial services corporation Ping An Insurance and a major shareholder in CITIC, a Chinese state-owned investment trust and the Japanese conglomerate Itochu. It owns controlling stakes in Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), the world's largest producer of feed, shrimp, and a global top three producer of poultry, pork, among other agricultural produces. It also operates Southeast Asia's largest retail business by revenue, with over 10,000 Seven Eleven stores and a leading cash and carry business through Siam Makro. In the telecommunications sector, CP Group subsidiary, True Group, is one of the largest telecom firms in Southeast Asia with over 25 million mobile customers.
With some 200 business subsidiaries in Mainland China, CP Group is known in China as "Zhèng Dà" (正大). When China opened up its economy in 1978, the CP Group was the very first foreign investor in the country and became the first foreign company registered in the special economic zone of Shenzhen, Guangdong. The company is the single largest investor in Mainland China today commanding over fifth of China's entire feed meal market. The corporate registration number was "0001." Through its extensive investments, CP Group has been credited with changing the country's dietary habits and leading China's green revolution.
The CP Group traces its humble beginnings as a small seed shop named Chia Tai established in 1921 by Chinese brothers - Chia Exchor and Chia Seow Nooy. The shop was originally headquartered in Shantou, a seaport in China's southeastern Guangdong province, which developed a network of seed outlets with locations in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. Charoen Pokphand traces its beginnings back to 1921, when the Chinese immigrant brothers Chia Ek Chor (谢易初) and Chia Siew Whooy (谢少飞) started a seed store named Chia Tai Chueng in Bangkok's Chinatown during the reign of King Rama VI. They imported seeds and vegetables from China and exported pigs and eggs to Hong Kong. The two brothers, who were virtually penniless managed to scrape enough seed capital to start their tiny seed shop. For the first few years of the businesses existence, the two brothers experimented incessantly to find their own market niche. By the 1950s, the shop began to specialize in exporting animal feed, particularly for chickens but the business struggled nonetheless until the 1970s when the Bangkok Bank asked it to assume control of a bankrupt chicken farm. The shop later specialized in purchasing grown chickens for distribution to grocers and restaurants with vertically integrated strategy of feed-milling operations with chicken breeding. In 1969, the company had an annual turnover of $1 to $2 million.
When the Thai economy was liberalized in the 1970s, the CP group entered various business negotiations with several major Thai banks, the Thai government, and foreign firms. The CP Group would supply Thai farmers with chicks and feed and taught them how to raise chickens while the farmers would sell the grown chickens back to the CP Group which processed the bred chickens and sold them to high volume grocery stores, restaurants, and fast food franchises across Thailand. In addition, the CP Group expanded internationally exporting their contract farming formula across Southeast Asia and around the world from Mexico, Taiwan, Portugal, Mainland China, Indonesia, Turkey and the United States. By the 1980s, with Thailand becoming a full blown capitalist economy, the CP Group entered the aquaculture business, turning their formula to raise and market shrimp.
The company increased its scope from selling vegetable seeds under the trademark of "Rua Bin" (Aero plane) to production of animal feed under Ek Chor's two elder sons, Jaran Chiaravanont and Montri Jiaravanont. The company further integrated its business to include livestock farming, marketing and distribution, under Dhanin Chearavanont. By the 1970s, the company had a virtual monopoly on the supply of chicken and eggs in Thailand. The company was famous for vertical integration expanding into several business lines, adding breeding farms, slaughterhouses, processed foods production, and, later, its own chain of restaurants. CP had also gone international, launching feedmill operations in Indonesia in 1972, exporting chickens to Japan in 1973, then moving into Singapore in 1976.
In the 1980s, as Mainland China opened up to foreign direct investment, the firm became the preferred partner for international brands such as Honda, Wal-Mart, and Tesco. CP's family ties with the mainland enabled it to become the first foreign company to establish itself in the newly created Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, where the company set up its Chia Tai Co. (Chinese: 正大集团; pinyin: Zhèngdà Jítuán) subsidiary. In 1987, the company acquired the rights for their 7-Eleven convenience store chain and the KFC fast food restaurant. The company would also expand in earnest into Shanghai by manufacturing motorcycles with a license from Honda and brewing beer with a license from Heineken. In 1989, CP entered the petrochemical business with Solvay of Belgium to launch Vinythai Co., a manufacturer of polyvinylchloride. In 1990, the CP Group acquired a stake in TelecomAsia, a joint venture with U.S. telecommunications giant NYNEX to build and operate two million telephone lines in Bangkok worth some $3 billion. The CP Group also acquired interests in satellite launch, cable television, and mobile telephone services.
By the early 1990s, CP had presided some 200 subsidiaries in China. CP's massive investment in poultry production on the mainland was credited with changing the country's dietary habits, as per-capita consumption more than doubled by the end of the decade. Starting in 1993, many subsidiaries went public. TA, Charoen Pokphand Feedmill, Siam Makro and Vinythai were listed publicly at the Stock Exchange of Thailand, as well as its Hong Kong subsidiary, CP Pokphand to the Hong Kong exchange, a Shanghai-based animal feed and poultry group to the Shanghai exchange, a real estate development arm, Hong Kong Fortune, to the Hong Kong exchange, and Ek Chor China Motorcycle to the New York exchange. Having been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 1981, C.P. Lotus - a major retail arm of C.P. Group in China - opened its first store in Shanghai in 1997.
After the Asian financial crisis in 1997, C.P. consolidated into three business lines under its main “brand names”: foods (C.P. Foods), retail (7-Eleven), and telecommunications (True). By the early 2000s, the CP Group claimed $9 billion in business assets and is among one of the most powerful corporate conglomerates in the world. The company sold its stakes in the Tesco Lotus venture with Tesco in 2003 due to its crisis policy in order to focus on 7-Eleven, in which, unlike Tesco, CP owns a majority, as its flagship retail arm.
In 2013, Charoen Pokphand has got the clearance to buy HSBC's stake of Chinese Ping An Insurance. On May 10, 2013, in spite of a lack of loan from the China Development Bank, HSBC said "it was selling the 15.6 per cent stake at HK$59 a share" to Charoen Pokphand Group.
In 2014, CP announced a tie-up with the Japanese general trading company Itochu under which CP acquired 4.9 percent of Itochu's listed stock for about US$1 billion, and Itochu in turn acquired a 25 percent stake in a Hong Kong-listed CP group company, CP Pokphand Co., for about US$854 million. This transaction made CP the third-largest shareholder in Itochu, and was marketed as an alliance between the two conglomerates with a focus on developing international food trading opportunities. In 2015, CP and Itochu announced that they would jointly take a US$10.4 billion stake in China's CITIC Limited, forming a trilateral alliance with Itochu and CP each holding 10 percent of CITIC's stock, one of the largest foreign investments in a Chinese state-owned company.
Charoen Pokphand FoodsEdit
Known as Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc., (CPF). It was established in 1978 with operations in animal feed production, livestock breeding, further processing and trade. Currently, CPF invests overseas in nine countries, has subsidiaries in 17 countries and exports to over 40 countries. Furthermore, CPF is today the leading producer of feed and one of the largest producers of poultry in the world. Charoen Pokphand Foods is listed in the Stock Exchange of Thailand under the code: CPF.
C.P. Foods has a revenue of approximately US$14 billion (2012), with a market capitalization of over US$8 billion (2012)
CP ALL Public Company Limited is the flagship company of the Charoen Pokphand Group's marketing and distribution business. It is the Thai licensee of 7-Eleven since 1989 and operates 9,542 convenience stores under that trademark in Thailand. This is the third largest number of stores after the United States and Japan.
CP All completed FY 2016 with approximately US$15 billion in revenue, and currently has a market capitalization of over US$13 billion (2017).
Kentucky Fried ChickenEdit
CP All Plc. is the sole operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores in Thailand. The CP Group acquired the rights to distribute the convenience store in 1987. The first 7-Eleven outlet was opened in 1989 on Patpong Road in Bangkok. At the end of 2016, the company had a total of 9,542 stores nationwide. Of the total, 4,245 stores are in Bangkok and vicinity (44 percent) and 5,297 stores are in provincial areas (56 percent). There are 4,205 corporate-owned stores (44 percent), 4,645 franchise stores (49 percent), and 692 sub-area license stores (seven percent). An average of 11.7 million customers visit 7-Eleven stores each day. In 2016, the company expanded another 710 new stores both as stand-alone stores and stores at PTT gas stations. At the end of 2014, the company had 8,210 stand-alone stores (86 percent) and 1,332 stores in PTT gas stations (14 percent). The company has plans to open approximately 700 new stores annually, with the goal of 10,000 stores in 2017.
The Telecommunications Business Group was established during the late 1980s. Known as True Corporation Plc, True offers a ‘convergence’ of voice, video and data services across its integrated communications platform. Based in Bangkok, True currently services more than 23 million subscribers to its various services, which includes Thailand's third-largest mobile operator (True Move), the country's largest broadband and dial-up internet provider, largest fixed-line phone operator in Bangkok Metropolitan Area, electronic cash and payment services, personal communication telephone, data services, VoIP services, online portals, online games and is the only nationwide cable-TV provider (True Visions). True Corporation is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand under the code: TRUE
True Corporation generated approximately US$3.1 billion in revenue in 2012, it has a market capitalization of about US$4.3 billion (2013). It is spinning off its infrastructure operations into a new telecommunications fund set to IPO at about US$1.8 billion, putting the group's total value at about US$5 billion.
Founded in 2014 as a spin-off of True Corporation, Ascend Group handles the e-commerce, online retail, logistics and fulfillment component of CP Group. It marked its $150-million expansion by launching their affiliates in the Philippines and Indonesia, Vietnam, and also hard to reach economies like Myanmar and Cambodia. Ventures are classified under major subsidiaries: Ascend Commerce, Ascend Money and Ascend Capital, along with smaller independent ventures like TrueIDC and Egg Digital.
True Growth Infrastructure FundEdit
True GIF is a US$2 billion fund set up to manage True's extensive telecommunication assets including Thailand's largest fibre optic network and largest 3G & 4G cell networks. It became Thailand's second largest IPO ever in late 2013. True Corp is True GIF's largest shareholder.
CP Lotus Corporation is a retail operation in China.
C.P. Pokphand Co. LtdEdit
Listed in Hong Kong, CPP is one of the world's largest producers of feed and one of China's leading agricultural companies with factories nationwide.
C.P. Fresh MartEdit
A Thai-based chain selling frozen foods and finished products, now with over 700 branches.
One of China's leading motorcycle producers Dayang Motors, recently signed a joint venture to begin production of cars in Thailand. Its motorcycles are exported to Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Honda and HeinekenEdit
Held through C.P. All, Siam Makro is Thailand's largest cash and carry store. C.P. All purchased Siam Makro for US$6.6 billion in 2013.
C.P. Land manages several Bangkok properties including C.P. Tower 1 & 2. It is listed through C.P. Land Infrastructure Fund and has a market capitalization of over US$300 million.
After a several-month-long investigation, the British newspaper The Guardian claimed that Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods purchases fishmeal, which it then feeds to its farmed prawns, from suppliers that own, operate or buy from fishing boats manned with slaves. The Guardian claimed that after the slaves are bought for roughly US$250, the working conditions on those boats include forced labour with 20-hour work days, forced drug use, starvation and executions.
In January 2017, the United States District Court, Northern District of California ruled on multiple grounds in favour of CP Foods in relation to litigation brought against them and others, which claimed damages related to the alleged presence of human rights abuses in the supply chain for Thai shrimp. The Court's order - dismissal with prejudice - bars the plaintiffs from bringing such claims again.
Shrimp feed supply chain traceability and auditEdit
CP Foods produces and sells farmed shrimp. It does not own or operate any fishing vessels. The company has worked to improve the traceability of the fishmeal element of its supply chain since 2012, and broadened this effort to encompass a full traceability system for its farmed shrimp supply chain in 2014. As part of that process, CP Foods has reduced the number of suppliers who provide fishmeal for the production of shrimp feed.
CP Foods has undertaken a full independent, third-party audit of its shrimp feed supply chain (all the way back to the individual fishing boats catching fish for fishmeal production), conducted by a leading international supply chain audit company. Approved by-product fishmeal in shrimp feed is certified "IFFO RS CoC", the highest international benchmark for sustainable fishmeal.
Shrimp Sustainable Supply Chain Task ForceEdit
CP Foods is a founding member of the Shrimp Sustainable Supply Chain Task Force (SSSC), established in July 2014, which has convened food producers, international retailers, and NGOs to map out a holistic improvement and audit plan for the Thai shrimp industry, and to identify and agree the steps and timetable to increase the sustainability and transparency of the supply chain. The key aim of CP Foods and the SSSC is to ensure that abuse of workers and damage to the maritime ecosystem in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea is a thing of the past, and to restore trust in the industry.
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