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Saturday, May 17, 2008

AOT reshuffle key to suvarnabhumi plan

Airports of Thailand's new board of directors is set to back an overhaul of the partly state-owned company's top management to boost profitability and prepare for Suvarnabhumi Airport's second-phase development.

The revamp, due next month, will allow AOT's president Chana U-sathaporn to appoint suitable persons to key positions so that he can deliver better results.

Senior management changes include positions for Suvarnabhumi Airport's general manager and vice presidents, an AOT source said.

Chana and the board have agreed that the company needs to boost profits and generate a return on investment for its shareholders.

Last year, AOT's net profit plummeted 89.5 per cent to Bt1.094 billion due mainly to the withholding of Bt3.6 billion in concession payments from King Power, which operates the airport's duty-free and commercial areas.

AOT was also saddled with higher expenses, such as Bt6.2 billion for the depreciation of Suvarnabhumi, Bt2.2 billion for loan interest and Bt1.8 billion for operations.

AOT's plan for the rest of the year calls for cuts in personnel costs and finding new revenues from 1,140 rai of commercial space at Suvarnabhumi and the company's international airports in Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

The board has agreed to proceed with the second-phase development of Suvarnabhumi to meet an increase in passenger traffic.

The source said AOT would show better results this year, since it can now book revenues from King Power following a preliminary resolution on earlier disputes.

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