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Thai Airways looks to revise turnaround plan

Thai Airways International is proposing to revise its turnaround plan, which was originally put in place by the airline's former president Charamporn Jotikasthira.

A meeting will be held with the State Entreprises Policy Commission (SEPC) on 12 September, where the revised plan is "expected to help Thai exit the business rehabilitation process," says chairman Ekniti Nitithanprapas in a Bangkok Post interview.

No other details of the plan were shared by Nitithanprapas in the interview.

Under the transformation plan introduced by Jotikasthira, who served as president between 2015 and 2017, the plan called for Thai to focus on revenue and cost management, as well as improving its capabilities and customer service. From 2017 onwards, the focus would have been on sustainable growth.

In its investor presentation for the second quarter 2018 results, the plan calls for Thai to improve profitability, enhance its business and assets portfolio, improve its customer experience, implement digital technology for its operations, and better use human resources.

The interview coincided with Thai's announcement that Sumeth Damrongchaitham, a finance executive, assumed the company's presidency on 1 September, and will serve a four year term at the carrier.

Separately, Nitithanprapas calls on Nok Air to present a "credible rehabilitation plan and a clear strategy" before the Star Alliance member can agree to subscribe to any of Nok's planned fundraising plans.

"It's not only about injecting money. It has to come hand in hand with the rehabilitation plan. If the plan is approved, we'll be ready to put in more money," says the chairman in another Bangkok Post interview.

Nok Air, to date, has announced no plans to conduct fundraising since its last exercise in November 2017, when it raised Bt1.7 billion ($52 million) by issuing 1.1 million shares. Major shareholders, including Thai Airways, subscribed to the share issuance, leaving its 21.6% shareholding intact.

Nitithanprapas adds discussions are now underway with Nok Air's largest shareholder, Nuttapol Jurangkool, which owns a 23.8% in Nok, on how to bring the airline back to profitability.

During the second quarter of 2018, Nok posted a larger consolidated net and operating losses of Bt1.1 billion, despite a 3.7% revenue increase to Bt4.84 billion, battered by higher fuel prices.

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