Thai company eyes Vietnam for noodles

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Báo Dân Trí English - 76 month(s) ago 40 readings

Thai company eyes Vietnam for noodles

Thai President Foods Plc (TF), the maker of Mama instant noodles, is interested in setting up an instant noodle factory worth one billion baht in Vietnam.

Announcing a campaign focusing on five key Mama flavours, from left: Vathit Chokwatana, director of Saha Pathanapibul Plc; Petch Paniengvait, assistant manager for Product Division 2 at Saha Pathanapibul; and Chailada Tantivejakul, assistant manager for Product Division 2.

"Vietnam has huge potential because its instant noodle market is worth 30 billion baht, about three times higher than in Thailand," said president Pipat Paniengvait.

Per capita consumption of instant noodles in Vietnam is 90 packages per year, compared with 39 packages per year in Thailand.

But Mr Pipat said competition in Vietnam was fierce because the market comprises about 40 instant noodle brands, mainly from Japan and Taiwan.

Mama instant noodles have been available in Vietnam for seven years, until recently through Saha Pathanapibul Plc, a Saha Group subsidiary.

Earlier this year, Boonsithi Chokwatana, the Saha Group chairman, assigned TF itself to look after the Vietnam business of Mama instant noodles, replacing Saha Pathanapibul.

As a result, TF appointed a new sales agent in Vietnam in January, and the new agent began distributing Mama instant noodles at the end of last month.

"If monthly sales of Mama instant noodles in Vietnam reach 20,000 packages, we will then implement our plan to set up the production plant over there," Mr Pipat said.

Back at home, TF and Saha Pathanapibul have had a minor management restructuring. Mr Pipat's son Petch, who looked after Mama manufacturing at TF, was assigned to work as assistant manager for Product Division 2 at Saha Pathanapibul, while Chailada Tantivejakul, who handled advertisement for Mama instant noodles at Far East Advertising, moved to co-assistant manager with Mr Petch.

The changes are expected to increase efficiency for Mama instant noodles.

Vathit Chokwatana, director of Saha Pathanapibul, said the company allocated 100 million baht to arrange a new campaign called "Mama My Favourite" to create greater public awareness of Mama. Its new TV commercial features five famous presenters from The Star 7: Yuttana 'Toomtam' Puangklang, Gorawan 'Kwang' Suttiwong, Siripon 'Amp' Chusaksakulwiboon, Yuttana 'Nes' Kanil and Note Panayanggool.

The five presenters will advertise Mama's five main flavours and its instant rice vermicelli clear soup. The five flavours are expected to contribute 80% of total sales of 9.5 billion baht this year, up 10% from last year.

Sales of Mama instant noodles in the first eight months of the year grew 10%, on par with industry growth. The widespread floods are driving instant noodle sales by an additional 5-10%.

The overall size of the instant noodle market is estimated at 13.5 billion baht by the end of this year, up from 12 billion baht last year.

Apart from Mama, Saha Pathanapibul was recently appointed the distributor of Unif juice and Mister Potato crisps from Malaysia. The company aims to generate sales of 150 million baht from the two new products by year-end, rising to more than one billion baht in 2012.

Total sales for Saha Pathanapibul are seen reaching 23 billion baht for the full year, up 12% from last year.

TF shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 116 baht, up two baht, in trade worth 1.3 million baht.

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