Thiensurat PCL (SET:TSR) Expanding throughout Thailand

Thiensurat Public Company Limited (SET:TSR) Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ekarat Changyoo discusses the company’s strategy and outlook in The Executive Talk (TET) by

TET: TSR’s business model has evolved over the past few years. Could you explain these developments and why they were made?

Our core customers are low to middle income group and we provide products that meet their fundamental needs. TSR’s core products are water purifiers and have 13 models of water purifiers under the SAFE brand. In the past few years we have expanded further with electrical appliance products such as air conditioning units from Daikin and Fedders which we acquired, TVs, refrigerators and washing machines from Samsung, Toshiba and LG. We decided to expand into electrical appliances because they are fundamental needs of households. As for the first nine months of 2016, approximately 90% of revenues are from water purifiers and replacement filters and the remaining 10% are from electrical appliances, this has doubled from the previous year. We have also expanded our distribution channels from direct sales to telesales, our branches, modern trade, agents, and via internet. Today we have 100 mobile selling units with more than 1,000 direct sales persons, 200 persons in collection department, 100 telesales, 19 branches nationwide and our first joint venture in Laos (TSR Lao). Our collection team currently handles more than 100,000 transactions per month.

TET: Who are TSR’s target customers per product?

TSR has existing 500,000 customers on our database today. In Thailand approximately 70% of individuals do not own a credit card and 90% of our customers do not have one. Thus, they are typically lower to mid income earners in a family household in Bangkok and upcountry. Because of their income levels they are not able to go a modern trade to purchase with cash on Baht 10,000 electrical appliance, however they are able to afford monthly installments for up to Baht 3,000. We have invested in a CRM system from Cisco to ensure that we have the systems, databases and analytic tool to be able to understand our customers’ requirements, purchasing power and payment patterns. This allows us to know when to contact our existing and potential customers to offer new products, replacement filter and so forth. Interestingly, with the internet and Facebook we have been able to effectively use this channel to acquire new customers of up to 100 per day with minimal costs.

TET: TSR has begun expanding throughout the region. What opportunities do you see in other countries?

As you know, all countries including developed countries have problem on quality of tap water. Therefore, drinking water purifiers systems are needed, so we decided to expand our business overseas. In the beginning we target countries within ASEAN starting with countries in CLMV. In January 2017 we opened our first joint venture in Laos (TSR Lao) because of the similarity in both culture and language. We also study Vietnam market since it has a large population and economic growth is very high.

TET: What differentiates TSR from its competitors in the market?

1. Product Quality: We have our own Research and Development Department, so we always develop our product to have a better quality at all time. Water come out from our system are chlorine free, contains mineral and have PH level at 8.0-9.0 (Alkaline water).
2. After Sales Service: We warranty our product for up to 2 years free of charge.
3. Pricing: Even our products price are quite high but when compare to others with same quality, we are much lower.

TET: TSR’s financial performance has been comparatively weak because of bad debts and NPLs. What steps are being taken to improve this?

Last year we suffered from this increase because we had launched a new water purifier product at a higher price together with extended payment terms to 24 months which resulted in bad debts increasing. We were able to rectify this quickly and improved our checker system. For electrical appliances, we have a stringent credit policy which is required because a substantial amount of sales come from telesales or from ecommerce. The process is where the buyer confirms a purchase, and before we approve the sale checker team is sent to ensure that the customer can afford the purchase and the monthly installments. If so it is approved if not then rejected, the current rejection rate is 40%.

TET: What are the biggest risks facing your business?

We are slightly concerned about the current economic slowdown in Thailand, which may cause higher bad debt. However, with stringent credit approval process in place, we will be able to reduce bad debt level.

TET: Where do you see TSR in five years from now?

We aim to be the leading water purifier company in Thailand with a dominant market share. Our focus will be on expanding our PONSaBUY (easy installment payment) branches throughout Thailand, branches in every province. With this we will be able to expand our electrical appliances from Bangkok to throughout the country. There is a possibility for us to expand our product offerings and target customer segment further within electrical appliances.

Source: ACN News Wire

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