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The King Power International Group (Thai: กลุ่มบริษัท คิง เพาเวอร์ อินเตอร์เนชันแนล) is Thailand's leading travel retail group, based in Bangkok. The chairman and CEO was Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha until his death in October 2018. He was succeeded as chairman by his son, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.

King Power International Group
IndustryDuty-free shop
Founded1989 (30 years ago) (1989)
FounderVichai Srivaddhanaprabha
Headquarters8 King Power Complex, Rangnam Road, Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400 Thailand
Area served
Thailand
Key people
Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha (Chairman & CEO)
RevenueIncreaseUS$2.141 billion (2017)[1]
Number of employees
7,000
SubsidiariesLeicester City
Oud-Heverlee Leuven
Websitewww.kingpower.com
www.kingpoweronline.com

King Power's "...cash cow is the proprietary concession of Thailand's duty-free business."[2] The company is the largest duty-free retailer in Thailand. Its duty free shopping mall in Bangkok's central business district covers over 12,000 square metres (130,000 sq ft)[3] and it has branches at Suvarnabhumi Airport and Thailand's other major airports. In 2015, King Power launched an online site selling duty-free and duty-paid items.[4]

HistoryEdit

 
A King Power duty free shop at Macau International Airport.

King Power began in 1989, with a license granted for Thailand's first downtown duty free shop at Mahatun Plaza.[5] In 1995, King Power won the sole concession to operate duty-free shops at Don Mueang Airport, then Bangkok's main airport. In 1997, the government of Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh granted the company the sole right to manage duty-free business at the World Trade Centre in downtown Bangkok for 10 years. The business had previously been managed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Some questioned whether it was contrary to Prime Minister's Office regulations regarding partnership with private business.[6]

In 2004, the government of Thaksin Shinawatra granted King Power the right to operate duty-free shops at Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok's new main airport, for 10 years. Shortly thereafter, the company won the concession to operate duty-free shops at four major provincial airports until 2015. There was no bidding for the concessions.[6] As of 2016 King Power operated branches at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Hat Yai airports. Its contract at Suvarnabhumi expires in 2020 and at Don Mueang[7] in 2022.[8] King Power's monopoly status stands in sharp contrast to the practice at other comparable international airports. For example, Incheon International Airport has twelve duty-free concessions competing for trade.[9]

King Power received the royal warrant from the King of Thailand in December 2009.[10] The garuda statue in front of its headquarters symbolizes that privilege.[11]

In August 2010, following agreement on a three-year shirt sponsorship deal with King Power, Milan Mandarić sold the English football club Leicester City F.C. to a Thai-led consortium called Asian Football Investments (AFI), owned by King Power Group's Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.[12] On 16 May 2017, Belgian First Division B team Oud-Heverlee Leuven announced that they had accepted an offer from King Power to buy the club.[13]

In June 2016 King Power purchased a US$226 million stake in Thai AirAsia, the country's largest budget airline. The purchase of 39 percent of holding company Asia Aviation makes King Power the second largest shareholder in Thai AirAsia.[14]

On 27 October 2018, the chairman and CEO of King Power, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a helicopter crash, shortly after leaving King Power Stadium, home of Leicester City FC. The cause of the crash is currently unknown, and is under investigation by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch.[15]

StoresEdit

 
The King Power MahaNakhon skyscraper in Bangkok

King Power has outlets at nine Thai airports and stores in major tourist venues.[16]

Allegation of wrongdoingEdit

In 2017, King Power was accused of failing to pay the Thai state 14 billion baht (£327 million) from the operation of their airport duty-free shop monopoly. The original agreement, signed in 2006, requires that 15 percent of duty-free shop income be paid to the Thai government. The lawsuit alleges that King Power colluded with airport employees to pay the government only a three percent slice of duty free takings. The lawsuit was filed by a deputy chairman of a government anti-corruption subcommittee. Two other King Power group companies owned by the Srivaddhanaprabha family were also accused of corruption in the legal action, along with a senior King Power executive. Fourteen officials working for Airports of Thailand PCL (AOT) have also been named in the suit.[17] King Power immediately dismissed allegations of corruption relating to its contract with state-owned AOT.[18] The allegations were described as "absolutely untrue" by Dr. Nitinai Sirismatthakarn, President of AoT, who explained the allegations were based on a misunderstanding of contract modifications negotiated by AoT. In effect, fee percentage was effectively reduced, but there is a lack of understanding of this modification in the contracts as rate does not apply to the same calculation structure. Instead of charging 15 percent of profit, AoT receives three percent of turnover, resulting in increased fees received by AoT (seven times previous fees). "This absolutely cannot be considered as damage to the state", Dr. Nitinai said.[19] The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in Bangkok accepted the case in November 2017, and said it would begin to hear witnesses on 12 February 2018.[20] In August 2018, the court said it would extend a hearing into accusations of graft against AOT and King Power, delaying a decision on whether to take up the case. The court will hold another hearing on 4 September 2018, summoning the AOT president to clarify the AOT's duties, revenues, and regulations governing commercial activity.[21] The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases dismissed the case on 18 September 2018, ruling that the plaintiff "was not an affected party, therefore he cannot sue in this case."[22]

Close ties to various Thai governmentsEdit

King Power's "cash cow" is its duty-free business which operates as a government-sanctioned monopoly.[2] Over the years, King Power has been very close to the Thaksin, Abhisit, and Yingluck governments. It has also been a supporter of post-coup governments of Sonthi Boonyaratglin and more recently, Prayut Chan-o-cha.

In January 2019, it was revealed that King Power was among the donors at the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat Party's 600 million baht dinner fundraiser.[23]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.statista.com/statistics/565893/global-turnover-of-king-power-international-group/
  2. ^ a b Pananond, Pavida; Pongsudhirak, Thitinan (6 May 2016). "A Thai monopoly and Leicester's triumph". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  3. ^ "King Power Downtown Complex". King Power. 2012. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Duty Free Online Shopping". King Power. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  5. ^ "A King Power Timeline" (PDF). Moodie Report. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Vichai linked to new party". The Nation. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  7. ^ Mahittirook, Amornrat (12 August 2012). "King Power's Don Mueang bid astonishes". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  8. ^ Wongsamuth, Nanchanok (14 February 2016). "Beyond the call of duty free". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  9. ^ Nikomborirak, Deunden (26 September 2018). "Freeing up the duty-free business" (Opinion). Bangkok Post. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  10. ^ Watcharapong Thongrung (3 December 2009). "King Power banks on stable politics". The Nation. Bangkok. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  11. ^ Martin Moodie (3 December 2009). "King Power awarded royal warrant in Thailand". The Moodie Report. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  12. ^ "Thai consortium eyes deal to buy Leicester for £39m". BBC Sport. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  13. ^ "OH Leuven komt in Thaise handen: "Zo snel mogelijk weer naar 1e klasse A"" [OH Leuven in Thai hands: "As soon as possible back to first division A"]. Sporza. 16 May 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  14. ^ "King Power buys 39% stake in Thai Air Asia". Straits Times. Agence France Presse, Reuters. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Leicester City owner among five helicopter crash victims". BBC News. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Stores & Locations". King Power. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  17. ^ Conn, David; Holmes, Oliver; Jirenuwat, Phakarat Ryn (12 July 2017). "Leicester's owner, King Power, accused of £327m corruption in Thailand". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  18. ^ "King Power rejects corruption lawsuit". The Nation. 15 November 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Thailand's Airport authority denied 'fabricated' claims it colluded with King Power in corruption". The Nation. 2017-07-18. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Court accepts revenue case against King Power". Bangkok Post. Reuters. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  21. ^ Setboonsarng, Chayut; Niyomyat, Aukkarapon (14 August 2018). "Thai court delays decision on taking up case against Airports of Thailand, King Power". Reuters. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  22. ^ "Graft case against Airports of Thailand, King Power dismissed". Bangkok Post. Reuters. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  23. ^ isranews (2019-01-28). "ต้องโชว์ทุกเดือน! กาง กม.เงินบริจาคพรรค-ลุ้นก้อน 532 ล.งานโต๊ะจีน พปชร.ใครทุนใหญ่?". สำนักข่าวอิศรา (in Thai). Retrieved 2019-02-03.

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