King Power, happy owner of EPL Champions, Leicester F.C.,and biggest duty free retailer in Thailand, buys Thai AirAsia.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha owns the King Power Group, biggest Duty Free retailer in Thailand.
The 58 years old businessman started with one shop in Bangkok in 1989.
In 1995, he was granted the monopoly of Duty Free shops in Don Muang, then main Bangkok airport.
In 1999, he became the sole operator of Duty Free shop at the Bangkok World Trade Centre.
In 2006, he obtained the monopoly of Duty Free retail at Suvarnabhumi, the new Bangkok Airport.
In 2009, King Power received the royal warrant from the King of Thailand. This distinction is symbolized by the right to erect a Garuda statue in front of the company’s head quarter.
Asian tycoons love football. They love the game but they also love the investment opportunities it represents, financial opportunities that come with a certain prestige.
In 2010, Mr Vichai bought the Leicester Football Club, one of the lowest ranking of the EPL.
During the 2015- 2016 season, Leicester FC, in spite of one of the smallest budgets of the League, ended up being crowned Champion of England.
Mr Vichai pursues the expansion of his empire. He just acquired 55 % of Thai AirAsia; TAA is the local company of the Air Asia Group, the biggest low-cost carrier of South East Asia.
Thai laws stipulate that an airline must be owned by Thai nationals for a minimum of 51 %.
Thai AirAsia is a profitable company. Last year, it carried 14 million passengers and posted a profit of 30 million US Dollars.
The takeover of the shares has been welcomed by Mr Tony Fernandes, founder and CEO of Air Asia Group which owns the remaining 45 % of TAA.
Mr Fernandes considers that the investment made by Mr Vichai, one of the most dynamic investor of the Kingdom, is the sure proof that Air Asia business model is good.
Besides, Mr Fernandes recognizes the pertinence of bringing together the two activities of Duty Free retail and air transportation.
Mr Vichai wants to develop synergies between the retail, hotel and transportation of his group. He is eyeing at developing further routes to China or India.
Taking delivery of new A350neo, TAA fleet will reach 50 aircraft by the end of the year. The target is 70 airplanes in 2020.