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MAY 2010

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DANISH-THAI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 34 C.P. Tower 3, 9th Floor Tower, Phayathai Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok10400 Tel.: +66 2 354 5220 Fax: +66 2354 5221 E-mail: contact@dancham.or.th Executive Director: Katrine Præst PRESIDENT Mr. Peter Emil Romhild Sr. Executive Vice President Berli Jucker Public Co., Ltd. Tel : +66 2 367 1111 Fax : +66 2 367 1000 E-mail : president@dancham.or.th VICE PRESIDENT / TREASURER / ALUMNI / HR Mr. Søren Presmann Managing Director Presmann (Thailand) Co., Ltd. Tel : +66 2 962 1151 Mob : +66 89 668 7840 Fax : +66 2 962 1152 E-mail : treasurer@dancham.or.th VICE PRESIDENT / MEMBERSHIP / CSR / HR Mr. Charnchai Charuvastr Chairman Aviva Décor Limited Tel: +66 2 685 3661-3 Email: member@dancham.or.th CHAIRWOMAN EVENTS Mrs. Mai Ellegaard General Manager Euro-Center (Thailand) Co., Ltd. Tel : +66 2 696 3626-27 E-mail : chairevent@dancham.or.th EVENTS Mr. Thomas Nyborg Managing Director Pandora Production Co., Ltd. Tel : +66 2 728 7200 E-mail : event@dancham.or.th EVENTS / LEGAL ADVISOR Mr. Santhapat Periera Partner Tilleke & Gibbins International Ldt. Tel : +66 2 263 7700 Fax : +66 2 263 7710 E-mail : egal@dancham.or.th CHAIRMAN MEMBERSHIP Mr. Jacob Bojsen Managing Director Visit Beyond Co. Ltd. Tel : +66 2 630 6994-8 E-mail : chairmember@dancham.or.th FOREIGN AFFAIRS / MEMBERSHIP Mr. Stig Vagt-Andersen General Manager Ben Adisti Co. Ldt. Tel : +66 2 168 7206 E-mail : foreign@dancham.or.th

Peter E. Romhild President Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce

Dear Readers These are very difficult times for Thailand. We are all optimistic, yet again i feel sad, when you watch and - from our residence - hear all the shooting nearby. I think this quote that my artist wife sent to me, when I was abroad, says it all. “Good morning eerie Bangkok Just back from a walk in the park. There is no school, offices are closed and of course no inspiration, so a walk felt good. But instead of clearing my mind, while walking the helicopters hover above, and the distant gunshots kept on reminding me of the situation. In the park I was surprised to see the army had set up their camp with lots of army tents and were taking a break, while police vans in a row were parked. On my way home I stopped and admired a beautifully ornamented spirit house and thought of the beauty of Thailand, when the helicopter and gun shots reminded me again of the current Thailand…….” Dear readers, let’s hope by the time you read this issue, that the situation has returned to some normalcy. Thailand has a lot to offer and as Danes we don’t easily give up. We believe in the resilience of Thailand and the Thai people. Good hunting with the Trade News.

CHAIRMAN MEDIA Mr. Jakob Ingemann Chief Financial Officer ECCO (Thailand) Co., Ltd. Tel : +66 35 716 601 E-mail : chairmedia@dancham.or.th MEDIA Mr. Robert Kronberg Managing Director PIRO Consulting Group Tel : +66 81 406 2854 Fax : +66 2 254 5766 E-mail : media@dancham.co.th MEDIA Mr. Thomas Lindy Sorensen Managing Director Maersk Line (Thailand) Ltd. Tel : +66 2752 9090 Fax : +66 2 750 9614 Email : media@scanmach.co.th EMBASSY REPRESENTATIVE Mr. Bo Bjerregaard Rasmussen Commercial Counsellor Royal Danish Embassy Tel : +66 89 204 9098 E-mail: borasm@um.dk EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Ms. Katrine Præst Executive Director Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce Tel : +66 2 354 5220 Fax : +66 2 354 5221 Email : director@dancham.or.th EDITING, MARKETING & PRODUCTION Scand-Media Corp. Ltd. 4/41 - 2 Moo, Ramintra Soi 14, Bangkok 10230 Tel.: (66) 02943 7166-8 Fax: (66) 02943 7169 Editor: Mr. Gregers Moller - gregers@scandmedia.com Marketing: Mr. Finn Balslev - finn@scandmedia.com Design: Disraporn Yatprom - disraporn@scandmedia.com

Peter E. Romhild President


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Expensive How much did the political disturbances in March, April and May affect Danish companies? By Kamilla Plambeck Photos Gregers Moller

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T

he political crisis in Thailand has reverberated throughout the world since the beginning of March. Images of the Red Shirts roaming the streets of Bangkok, barricades and fallen soldiers and demonstrators have made the world fear the worst for the citizens of Thailand. For the Thai economy, the political disturbances destroyed the early signs of an upswing. DanishThai TradeNews has asked selected members how much they expect the crisis to affect their companies.

On 13 March 2010 people in red started a major demonstration in Bangkok which escalated out of control on both sides. A month after the beginning the UDD, popularly named the Red Shirts, occupied a major part of the financial and business district of Thailand’s capital Bangkok. The occupation forced first class hotels, businesses, popular shopping malls, and skytrain stations to close down for long periods of time. Some of the Danish companies in Thailand witnessed the drama on their doorstep. Others

have yet to witness it on their bottom line. Some have been lucky enough to be less affected than others - with the tourism sector obviously being the worst hit. At the top of the crisis, several countries warned their citizens to stay out of Thailand or only travel for essential purposes.

Clarity IT

Clarity IT provides IT Solutions and Solution for International businesses, which based close to Chitlom BTS station, have experienced the Red Shirts’clash with the military from the front


Turbulence row. Danish general manager Mikkel Larsen explains: “Our office is right next to Central Chitlom, which is right by the Red Shirts’camp. We’e had to evacuate quite a few times. Part of our job is to send engineers out to our customers but in some cases we have had to say no, especially in the Sala Daeng area, because of the danger.” Despite the hectic times at Clarity IT, the company has no plans to adjust their expectations for 2010. “We think more long-term.

We have customers all over Bangkok. Our head office has been affected but not enough to actually change anything. We check every morning if Skytrain is running – that’s it,”says Mikkel Larsen.

The Royal Danish Embassy

Bo Bjerregaard Rasmussen, commercial counselor at the Royal Danish Embassy, also reports about the affects of the political crisis. The nature of things has caused the embassy to be

Political turbulence has had different consequences for Danish companies located in Thailand

strongly intensified and has to a great extend been pointed at the circumstances, which has had influence on Danish citizens’ safety. As a result the embassy continues to bring updates by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ travel instructions. Also, the embassy has had to improvise a bit: “It’s been a bit of a challenge as to issuing visas. The actual reception of visas, which earlier this year was outsourced, had to move back to the embassy because the new Visa Application Center was in the

May 2010

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danger zone close to the area that was occupied by the Red Shirts,”says Bo Bjerregaard Rasmussen, and continues: “This meant, among other things, that some of the employees from the Visa Application Center had to be moved to the embassy and placed here. Also, the volcanic ash from Iceland caused an increase in inquiries with request on visa renewals from Thai people who weren’t able to travel to Denmark as planned. Even though, the authorization of the renewals itself is a matter of formality, the renewals resulted in significant workload in that the renewals require individual adjustment et cetera.” Furthermore, companies have caused a great increase in inquiries regarding safety of investing in Thailand. However, mostly the embassy has concluded that there is no immediate danger as to the companies’commercial interests. According to Bo Bjerregaard Rasmussen the political crisis has forced some companies to post-

pone their otherwise planned activities with the embassy. But Bjerregaard Rasmussen can’t foresee whether the embassy will be able to follow this year’s scheduled plans. “It is still very unclear. A lot will depend on the continued political development as well as whether the very beneficial progress in great parts of the Thai economy will continue,”Bo Bjerregaard Rasmussen says.

ECCO

“ECCO Thailand Retail has been somewhat affected because Central World, Siam Paragorn on Central Chiltlom has been and still is closed. This means that we don’t sell any shoes on these important locations,”says Jakob Ingemann, Chief Financial Officer at ECCO (Thailand) Co. Ltd. However, the political crisis has not affected the production and export of shoes. Whether ECCO will be further affected is difficult to say but the company is taking the necessary precautions. “We have ensured that

possible production impact can be avoided or at least reduced; we are looking into various options of securing emergency power in case of shorter or longer electricity outage. It is especially the bombing of high voltage cords in Ayutthaya during the Songkran, which has gotten us to look into emergency plans,”says Jakob Ingeman. As to future plans, the production in Thailand has not been adjusted. However, everything considered ECCO is evaluating future expansions in Thailand. Specifically, ECCO is currently reconsidering their decision on opening Regional Distributions Center in Thailand later in 2010.

Holm Machinery

At Holm Machinery they have had to reroute some of their customers to Hua Hin instead of Bangkok. But at the moment, they are more worried about a soon-to-be trade exhibition hosted by Holm Machinery: “From May 13th till May 15th Holm Machinery is hosting

a trade exhibition in Bangkok and so far we have gotten more than 50 percent cancellations. We’re not going to call off or postpone the event but we are a little worried about being a larger group of people gathered in one place because we could be a potential target,”says Peter Holm, managing director. The political crisis has so far not been the biggest predicament for Holm Machinery; just like the Royal Danish Embassy, they have had problems with the volcanic ash that ravaged most of Europe in April. But Peter Holm is in no doubt that the political crisis will hurt the Danish company. For instance, it will delay orders. Although, Peter Holm wants to wait and see what the crisis brings, he is ready to move the company to Laos or Cambodia, where it will be safer to be, if civil war breaks out in Thailand.

HortiQ

Danish nursery HortiQ, who specializes in plant propagating, has not been affected by the political crisis yet, although, their customers are worried about the future and the stability in Thailand. This keeps them from long-term orders. But Claus Feldborg, chairman of the board, says that whether or not the company needs to take any further actions depends on how long the crisis will last.

Star Tour

Neither Danish travel agency Star Tour has been affected by the Red Shirts occupation of Bangkok, even though, the tourism industry has suffered the most. Stig Elling, communications and sales director, at Star Tour says that the situation in Thailand hasn’t had any consequences for them. People are aware of the disturbances in Bangkok but it hasn’ kept Danes from booking their summer vacation to Phuket. They know that there’s peace on the popular paradise island in Southern Thailand. “We have a few guests flying to Bangkok but so far it hasn’ caused us any problems,”Stig Elling says.

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Copenhagen Goodwill in Copenhagen Capacity and Wonderful Copenhagen recruit expatriate Danes and successful business executives to promote Copenhagen all over the world. But what does it mean to be a Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador? We ask newly appointed Ambassador Jon Plate why he said yes to market the Danish capital in Thailand.

position for the period 2007 till 2011. Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassadors thus help advocate Copenhagen as the world’s best office. Jon Plate agrees and proudly accepts his responsibility within the Corps: “I think it’s brilliant to make use of all the Danish goodwill around the world. Nowadays there are a lot of younger Danes all over the world with independent businesses, who are quality-conscious and, therefore, perfect promoters of Copenhagen.”

Humble and goal oriented

By Kamilla Plambeck

Poul Weber was for many years Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador for Thailand. In this capacity Poul Weber has over the years hosted numerous events and worked behind the scene in promoting Copenhagen in Thailand. Handing over his responsibilities to Jon Plate is a gradual transition, which will be completed later this year.

Poul Weber will gradually transfer his Goodwill responsibilities to Jon Plate. 10

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D

anish Jon Plate seems to be the ideal Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador. He has worked and lived in Copenhagen, which has given him an extensive knowledge of the city. Moreover, through his Danish company Centurion Property Group, he is constantly in touch with foreign companies who wish to come to Copenhagen to do business. And so far Jon is very pleased with his new title: “It feels great to be a Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador. Copenhagen has a lot to offer and the city has become a showcase on Danish living,” says Jon Plate, who last summer became one of two Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassadors in Thailand. With the Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador Corps, Copenhagen Capacity and Wonderful Copenhagen hope to globally promote Copenhagen as an attractive vacation spot as well as a city of great interest

Copenhagen has become a showcase on Danish living Jon Plate for international investors. The Goodwill Ambassadors can for the time being be found in 29 markets worldwide and they all meet once a year in Copenhagen. “I believe that Copenhagen has undergone a positive development. It is no longer a magnet for only students and senior citizens. Families no longer leave the city to raise their children. Also, Copenhagen has come to serve as the capital of Southern Sweden,” Jon says. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Business Environment Rankings has proclaimed Denmark to be the world’s best business environment 2008 till 2012. Denmark also held the top

When asked about the results he has obtained so far as a Goodwill Ambassador, the Danish entrepreneur humbly says that he cannot take credit for anything yet: “I’m still very new. The former Goodwill Ambassador is not resigning from his role until this summer in order for him to finish some of the projects that he once started. But I will stay active in the different benevolent associations such as Rotary; I would like to connect the relevant social networks out here. Also, I would like to tell the stories of the many young Thai people in Denmark.” Jon is very familiar with Copenhagen in that he spent his younger days roaming the city. And even though, Jon is impressed with the kind of city that Copenhagen has come to be, he also believes that it is important to emphasize that not everything about Copenhagen is ideal. The purpose of the Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador Corps is to convince foreigners to come to Copenhagen with regards to both tourism and business. Therefore, it is of no use to paint a perfect picture of the city: “You learn from your mistakes and we shouldn’t be afraid of criticism. Copenhagen has moved from the H.C. Andersen image that it used to have to a more realistic image. But it is important not to misrepresent the city. We need to always be upright and fair


Thailand about Copenhagen and Danish values.” However that may be, Jon is convinced that more Asian companies will find their way to Copenhagen because they enjoy the working environment that Copenhagen offers. “Thais love the calm atmosphere you can find in Copenhagen. They love the free society; the lack of social hierarchy they are otherwise used to,” says Jon who tries to avoid hierarchy in his own businesses.

Personal and professional gain

Since Jon was a young boy, he has dreamt of traveling and experiencing new cultures. Jon is half Danish and half Faroese, and he believes that played an important factor in his choice of career and life style. At the age of 20, Jon moved from Birkerød to Copenhagen in order to start as a trainee at the largest shipping company in Denmark, A.P. Moller-Maersk. Since then he has traveled the world; lived in London, Singapore, and France, and since 2005 he, his wife Emilie and their baby boy Zacharias moved to Bangkok. For Jon it was actually his third time living and working in the Kingdom. In 2008, the family welcomed baby girl, Zoe. “I’ve always wanted an international career. I knew that I needed to take an MBA abroad, which is why I chose business school INSEAD in France. Luckily, my wife is also very international so I didn’t need much persuasion when Bangkok became an option. I love Denmark; we visit as often as we can but I also enjoy living abroad and as long as I have my family at my side, we’ll stay in Bangkok,” says Jon. Over the years, Jon has done well for himself. His company Sukhothai Capital is doing well and in 2011, another business of his, MODENA Beachfront Condominiums & Pool Villas in Pranburi, will be ready for occupancy. “With Sukhothai Capital we try to find unspoiled areas in Thailand that we believe

are on the verge to become something big, and that have the potential to avoid mass tourism. That’s why we came up with MODENA. It is in Pranburi right outside Hua Hin and it’s only two and a half hours from Bangkok. It has the potential to become the Hamptons of Bangkok,” says Jon.

Staying in touch

Despite the fact that Jon’s home base is in Bangkok and that he has spent many years away from Denmark, he is still much in touch with his Danish roots. Through his Danish company, Centurion Property Group and his role as a Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador he is constantly motivated to keep up with what is happening in Copenhagen. “Centurion Property Group purchases luxury apartments in Copenhagen K, restores

Thais love the calm atmosphere you can find in Copenhagen

them and rents them to foreign companies and their executives who use them as private residences. We do it because we have great confidence in Copenhagen’s continued attraction when it comes to foreign as well as Danish companies’ inclination to create new jobs in the city,” Jon explains. Also, Jon finds it to be motivating and inspiring to represent Copenhagen abroad and he enjoys meeting other Danes, who has chosen to settle in a foreign country“You suddenly realize how much Danish values mean to you and how much you have in common with other expatriate Danes. A big part of my social network here in Thailand is Danish, which is nice when it comes to raising you children for instance; because we all have the same values.” Jon always has to know about what is going on in Copenhagen. He clearly has a great sense of the city and he is impressed with the development that Holmen and Islands Brygge have gone through.

A Dane at heart but …

Even though, there is no doubt about Jon’s love for Copenhagen, he cannot see himself live in Denmark once he retires. Although, Copenhagen will always be home for Jon – his family and many of his friends live there – there are other places in the world that he needs to explore. “My children are registered at a great international school here in Bangkok but I would like for them to attend a Danish senior high school. Of course, I can’t and won’t make that choice for them but my wife and I are ready to move back to Denmark for a short while. However, we most likely will not spend the rest of our lives there. If we move back to Europe I imagine it’ll be in Italy or France,” says Jon. For more information about MODENA Beachfront Condominiums & Pool Villas, please visit: www.modenacondos.com May 2010

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Responsibility of Thai This article provides a guideline of the responsibilies of a director in general businesses under Thai law. When dealing with specific business areas, there will be specific laws that need to be looked into. By Kamthorn Ounhirunskul

Kamthorn Ounhirunskul is Lawyer and Partner in Kamthorn Surachet & Somsak established in 1984. The firm is a specialist in mid market corporate and individual clients, in corporate practice, investment, finance and banking, taxation, real estate, immigration, labour, intellectual property and commercial legal matters.

H

aving landed in Thailand as an expatriate serving as a director in the local branch of an international company, one may wonder what kind of liabilities one sustains through holding a directorship in a Thai company.

1) Civil Aspect

As a director of the company, an act in the scope of work or responsibility or in accordance with the objectives of the company is considered an act of the company. Since the company is a juristic person according to the law but cannot perform any act, the company’s representatives or the directors of the company will be the persons who perform an act for and on behalf of the company. A director, who performs an act not in a position as an employee but on behalf of or in the name of the company, will not personally be liable or responsible for any damages incurred to any person. Only the company will be responsible therefore. If, however, such act is performed not within the scope of the objectives of the company and damage occurred due to the act, the director shall be liable or responsible for such act while the company will not be jointly liable as provided under Section 76 of the Civil and Commercial Code as follows: “Section 76: A juristic person is bound to make compensation for any damage done to other persons by its representatives or the person empowered to act on behalf of the juristic person in the exercise of their functions, saving its right of recourse against the causers of the damages. If damage occurs to other persons by an act which is not within the scope of the object

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or power and duties of the juristic person, all the persons as mentioned in paragraph one who agreed to such act or executed it, are jointly liable to make compensation.” An example can be given of the implication of Section 76 of the Civil and Commercial Code such as in a case where the company has its objective to engage in purchase and/ or sale of metal but the director entered into an agreement for the company to purchase and/ or sell wood; the director of the company shall be personally responsible for any contract for purchase and/or sale of wood (commentary by Dep.Prof. Pasakorn Juhaurai, 1996). In addition to the above responsibility of a director of a company under Section 76 of the Civil and Commercial Code, in executing his duty as a director of a company a director must apply the diligence of a careful businessman and may not engage in any commercial activities that has the same nature as and competing with that of the company. These requirements are provided under Section 1168 of the Civil and Commercial Code which provides:

(4) For the proper enforcement of the resolutions of the general meetings. A Director must not, without the consent of a general meeting of shareholders, undertake commercial transactions of the same nature as and competing with that of the Company, either on his own account or that of a third person, nor may he be a partner with unlimited liability in another commercial concern himself in carrying on a business of the same nature as and competing with that of the Company. The foregoing provisions apply also to persons representing the Directors.”

2) Penal Aspect

Under the penal aspect, a director, regardless of the objectives of the company, will be held criminally responsible if the company fails or omits its duty under an Act; for example a company must file its financial statement within a given period of time. Failure to do so will subject the company to a penalty and the director is thus responsible.

(2) For the existence and regular keeping of books and documents prescribed by law;

There are numerous provisions under the Act on offences Relating to Registered Partnerships, Limited Partnerships Limited Company Association (“Company Act”) that provides that a director of a company who fails to commit acts as required under the company Act shall be held personally responsible. Also in Section 25 of the company Act it states that in case a limited company commits an offence under Sections 7-27 a director will be responsible for the carrying out of business of such company shall be liable to a fine.

(3) For the proper distribution of the dividend or interest as prescribed by law;

In addition to the Company Act, there are, among others, the following Acts that a director will

“Section 1168: The Directors must, in conduct of the business, apply the diligence of a careful businessman. In particular they are jointly responsible: (1) For the payment of shares by the shareholders being actually made;


Directors be held criminally responsible with the company. a) The Act on Building Control: This Act provides for compliance of all building and construction work undertaken by a person for a company its Section 72 provides that in a case of an offence committed by the company, it is regarded that every director of the company has jointly committed the offence. b) The Act on Factory: This act provides for compliance for a factory to comply with on its establishment, operations etc. This Act provides for a director of a company to be jointly responsible in case of breach of the provision of the Act.

c) Competition Act: This act provides for compliance on competition issues, if there is a breach by a company, its director shall also be held responsible under Section 54. There are many other laws, rules, regulations and acts that a director must observe, one should investigate into specific law applicable to specific business. The above laws are the basic legislation that a company should look into when engaging in a business. Have a happy directorship by complying the laws. For more information please visit: www.kss.co.th

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Pressalit Building New Later this year, Danish Pressalit starts production of toilet seats in new-build factory in Amata City near Pattaya in Thailand. The move is on request from Pressalit Group’s biggest customer. By Kamilla Plambeck

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n August, Pressalit takes over a new-build factory in the industry estate of Amata City in Thailand. At first the factory will produce two easier models, which today are sold in Asia and Europe. The models are currently produced in Denmark but it has been the plan for a long time to move the production to Thailand as soon as the opportunity arose. “We keep tools in Denmark in order to be able to continue producing the same two models but our plan, seen from a production wise standpoint, is later on to produce one model only one place and that will be in Thailand,” says Jesper Riis-Antonsen, logistic director at Pressalit.

Cultural differences

When the factory is ready to start production of toilet seats by December 1st, the staff will consist of 20 employees lead by a Danish supervisor. The nationality of the rest of the employees is not important. What counts is the quality of the labor. Pressalit hopes to employ at least 100

people after the first four to five years. “Pressalit is a value based company that believes that cultural differences only strengthen a company’s ability to act, which means that we look for the best qualified people for a given job function. It doesn’t matter which country he or she comes from,” says Jesper RiisAntonsen. Nevertheless, the important positions will be employed by people who have a certain understanding of Western work ethic because they will often be in contact with the head office in Denmark. The role of the Danish supervisor will be to ensure a transfer of the most central qualifications – to press toilet seats - and he will be stationed the first two years of production. Subsequently Pressalit expects to have trained a sufficient amount of locals, who will then be able to take over from their Danish mentor. The position as supervisor

has already been filled by Knud Andersen. He and his wife have already begun intensive preparation in order to be able to adjust to living in Thailand. They have attended a cultural seminar as well as practiced their language skills – both English and Thai. They move to Thailand on September 1st.

Request from biggest customer

In 2008, Pressalit’s customer, German sanitation giant Villeroy & Boch, bought 80 percent of Thai company Nahm Sanitaryware. With production facilities in Saraburi in Thailand, Nahm produces sanitaryware, which is in demand globally. Pressalit is the primary supplier of toilet seats to Villeroy & Boch in Europe, and according to Jesper Riis-Antonsen it was therefore “a natural wish for the Germans to get Pressalit as collaboration partners in Asia.” With the Amata City factory Pressalit has complied with the request but as it looks right now the factory will be the only business that Pressalit will be run-

58 years of Pressalit toilet seats

Pressalit was founded in 1954, however, word is that it all began two years earlier. One night in 1952, a cat runs into the carpenter workshop of Christian P. Larsen and Holger Christensen. The cat accidentally topples a pot of glue, which spills over a warm radiator. As a result the glue forms a puddle in some sawdust on the floor and thus, a material with great possibilities came to exist. With more than 100 different models Pressalit has become one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of toilet seats, specializing in bathroom solutions for people with disabilities. Pressalit consists of two branches – Pressalit and Pressalit Care. The latter was launched in 1976 as Pressalit Rehab and focused on bathroom products for elderly and handicapped people. 14

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Factory in Thailand ning in Thailand, although, the Danish company expects that the factory will lead to a smaller sales company in Bangkok at one point. “We anticipate that the Danish and the Thai production together will be able to cover our production needs so for now we don’t find it necessary to open up more places in Thailand,” says Jesper RiisAntonsen.

Expecting to expand

Jesper Riis-Antonsen says that the factory should, according to the plan, be ready on August 16th and then they have to focus on three and a half month of preparing for the production, which will not be able to run until December. An approximately 1800 m2 area of production needs to be installed with machines, ventilation and other kinds of equipment. Moreover, there will be a longer process of education and training. During this first period Pressalit also expects to build up a network with suppliers of raw material and service. Furthermore, Jesper

Riis-Antonsen underlines that the process of having instructions and documentation made must not be underestimated. Besides the big production area Pressalit has another 600 m2 which will be occupied by the administration. Additionally the company has reserved a plot of land of 1000 m2 in case they need to expand - but only in accordance with orders from customers in that Pressalit has no interest in moving the entire production to Thailand. So far the move from Denmark to Thailand merely means that Pressalit will be able to supplement the capacity of the existing production in Denmark. Also, they hope to get a stronger platform as to creating new growth in sale and to enter more attractive markets in Asia as well as to avoid import tariff some places in the region. About a year ago, the Danish company had to lay off 41 employees in Denmark and England respectively. But the layoffs had nothing to do with opening of factory. The redundancies were caused by the financial crisis and conse-

Jesper Riis-Antonsen is looking forward to the opening of Pressalit’s new factory in Thailand.

Pressalit is building new factory in Thailand and plans to start production in December

quently Pressalit experienced reduction in orders on almost all of their markets. However, Jesper Riis-Antonsen assures that the opening of the new factory in Thailand did not have anything to do with the dismissals and that it won’t have any negative effect on the production in Ry in Denmark. “It is in no way in Pressalit’s interest to move most or all of the production to the Far East. It takes six weeks to transport our products from Asia to Denmark, and many of our customers in Europe currently expects a delivery time of a maximum of three to four weeks. In the long run it just won’t be realistic,” RiisAntonsen explains and adds that in the long term, Pressalit will offer some of their European customers toilet seats from Thailand.

May 2010

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Peter Waagensen:

My Thai Network Is th

Mermaids Dive Center and Dadriba is owned by the Dane, Peter Waagensen. He likes to keep a low profile in the Danish community in Thailand but fact is that he is a very successful businessman who has almost 100 employees in total. By Rikke Bjerge Johansen

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any expatriates are stationed in Thailand by a Danish company. Not Peter Waagensen. He arrived to Thailand 11 years ago and has formed his own career from scratch. “It’s not that I don’t want to work for a big, international company, but I have always been a self-employed person. It suits me best,” Peter Waagensen, 38, says. It has only taken Peter, who is educated as an economist from the UK, a handful of years to get to where he is now: three expanding businesses and almost 100 emploees. They are dispersed between his Amarin Plaza office in downtown Bangkok and the diving shop in

Pattaya. Not bad for the Dane who arrived to the country with no connections in Thailand. However, according to Peter, the key to his own success is simple: Networking and social events with local Thai businessmen. “I have never attended an official networking event but have met people at parties, dinners and bars. If the connection is right, you can get a lot of help,” he says. Peter explains that his crowd of private friends and networking associates consist of mainly Thais and some international expats – no Danes. “In Thailand and also other countries like Korea, the social aspect is extremely important

I’m very careful and invest only in brands that I believe in 100%. That’s probably why I have avoided investing in failed projects. I have no debt and I would never dream of investing with borrowed money.

Peter Waagensen


he Key to My Success and good connections can lead to many opportunities. On a personal level I find that Danes can sometimes be a bit negative to listen too,” he says with a smile.

Mosquito Band and Diving School

Peter’s three companies are all very different. The first one is his own Dadriba, which is basically a trading company that distributes brands to the whole of Asia. It means that Peter and his team find producers of a brand like sports clothing and equipment and get the exclusive rights to distribute the brand in Asia. He is very successful in Korea with a range of sports brand. Dadriba’s newest product is BugsLock. Basically, it’s an aromatic band with mosquito repellent to put on the wrist or ankle and it was Peter’s own idea to distribute the product in Thailand. “When I travel to other countries, I like to visit fairs. I saw this product at a fair in Korea and liked the fact that it is free from all the toxic stuff that can lead to cancer, like DEET. I tested the band myself on the golf field with a positive result. Then I did a market survey and

finally decided to distribute it,” Peter explains. Dadriba is now distributing BugsLock to more than 5000 retailers, among here Foodland, Gourmet Market, Boots, Tops, FamilyMart and many more and they just finished a commercial that will be shown in cinemas all over Bangkok. “Right now, the product is going well and I expect a lot of this coming year,” Peter says. His other company which is also located at the Amarin Plaza is Siac Consulting, which delivers accounting and financial services to clients, among here the big Korean Car brand Daewoo.

Passion for Thailand

Peter’s third company is directly related to his personal passion, diving. The same passion, that brought him to Thailand 11 years ago when Peter went to Thailand for three weeks to take a diving certificate at Mermaids Dive Center in Pattaya. “I liked the country, diving, the people, the food; so I kept coming back a couple of times every year until I realized that I would rather do it the other way around; stay here and take a holiday in Denmark. I researched the market for possible business opportunities and officially moved six years ago,” he tells, adding that he also has a house in Switzerland that he uses every time he goes to Europe.

Very Danish way

Peter started up Dadriba and the accounting business and also decided to take over Mermaid Divers two and a half years ago. It has been a success and he even managed to make profit through last year’s crisis. “We didn’t have to fire anyone during the crisis in 2009. We had seen it coming, and prepared ourselves by making changes in order to save money. We were also very open towards our staff and told them exactly what was going

on. Actually, I would say we have been very ‘Danish’ in our way of handling the situation. For instance, I held a big staff meeting in 2008 with Mermaid Divers, told them that the crisis was coming, and that they had two choices. Either they could choose to cut back their salary a bit and cancel the annual bonus in order to avoid firings. Or we could continue as normal and let go of ten percent of the staff. It took them ten minutes to make an anonymous voting and chose the first option which meant no firings. And actually, I’ve just given them ten per cent rise this year as I promised them as soon as the crisis was over,” Peter explains. Now, Peter has been here on and off for 11 years, speaks fluent Thai, has built his own house in Phra Khanong where

he lives alone with his 11-yearold son and the newest family member: their new Labrador puppy. “Since I have been here for some years already, I can see so many changes with Thailand’s development. It is full speed ahead in every aspect; from business to infrastructure to the level of education. It is a country in growth and even I feel that it is getting easier every year to do business in Thailand.” Regarding the future, Peter wants to keep doing what he does as long as he can enjoy life and work at the same time. But one thing is for sure: “I’m not going anywhere. I have my home here.”

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Evolution Tours: Extending Paradise is treating Danish Brian Boysen well. After 11 years in Thailand, the former tour guide continues to expand his business. Not only is he the man behind the tour agency Evolution Tour, he and two others are starting up a new company, Asian Travel, which will focus on round trips in Asia. By Kamilla Plambeck

My wife Kai is the trouble shooter when cultural differences become a problem Brian Boysen

S

ince Brian made his entry on the exotic, paradise island Koh Chang he has had great success. In 2003, Brian realized what positive direction Koh Chang was heading in and since there was no other travel agencies on the island, Brian decided to open up his own agency. Evolution Tour had a rough beginning but with plenty of hard work and a great deal of honesty the agency became very popular among tourists visiting the island. “Most of the big agencies in Bangkok cooperate with us because they feel that they can trust us. In addition to that I have

been lucky to have my wife Kai as operational manager. She takes care of the daily management and if there are problems with the staff, she’s the problem solver. In that way I avoid extra hurdles due to cultural differences,” Brian says. Brian met his wife Kai in February 2001 in Pattaya where she worked at the Apex Hotel. They spend the summer together and when Brian was heading to Koh Chang, Kai went with him.

One big, happy family For the time being, Evolution Tour has between 20 and 25 employees depending on

whether it’s high or low season. The work ethic is good and because they are not more than 25, Brian says it’s more like they are a family than a company. It’s clearly important to Brian that everyone is happy, including the guests who visit Koh Chang and Koh Lanta. “It’s very important that the guests are 100 percent satisfied with the service that Evolution Tour provides. We don’t spend a lot of money on advertisement because we will rather use the money to satisfy the guests,” says Brian. This seems to be a clever strategy since Evolution Tour has only had success since it first saw the light of day in 2003. Former guests who have been pleased with Evolution Tour have been good at recommending Brian and his agency to friends and family. Evolution Tour doesn’t book flight to/from Denmark, however, they take care of everything else. “We offer customers who book directly through Evolution Tour everything from hotel, transfers and trips within Thailand Brian Boysen with his wife Kai and their son Nemo who is now six years old.

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as well as trips to Cambodia. We also work together with our partners in Bangkok for whom we organize transfers to/from Koh Chang and Koh Lanta. When the guests arrive we visit them at their hotel to book trips et cetera,” Brian explains.

Where there’s a will there’s a way

Brian Boysen first came to Thailand in 1999 when he was only 22 years old. He was stationed in Pattaya with the Danish travel agency Alletiders Rejser, later Kuoni Scandinavian, with 15 other tour guides. However, it didn’t take long before Brian felt uncomfortable in Pattaya in that it didn’t live up to his expectations. Luckily, he got the opportunity to spend two months on Thailand’s second largest island Koh Chang. And like that Brian fell in love with the beautiful nature and the friendly people of Koh Chang. In 2005, Evolution Tour had become such a great success that Brian decided to open up an office on the Krabi island, Koh Lanta where he got the opportunity to work together with the Danish travel agency Star Tour. “Star Tour is a big part of our success on Koh Lanta.


the Empire in Thailand Without them we probably wouldn’t have been able to stay open down there.” But Brian has more to be happy about than the success of Evolution Tour and the great accomplishments on both Koh Chang and Koh Lanta. In August later this year, Brian and two Danish friends from his first time in Thailand will launch a new travel agency called Asian Travel. “Asian Travel will to begin with offer four different round trips; Two in Thailand, one in Vietnam, and one in Burma. Our plan is to further offer round trips in China and Cambodia, among others, when we feel the time is right. Moreover, we will provide the best tour guides, which will guarantee professionalism and safety on all our trips,” says Boysen, and continues: ”Our goal is to have to the largest selection of travels in Denmark to Asia within the next five years.” Asian Travel will be to find in Ebeltoft, Jutland and the website www.asiantravel.dk should be up and running in a couple of months.

even though, he finds it to be a great country. “My company is in Thailand and there are still a lot of challenges here,” he says.

Luck be a Dane

Evolution Tour hasn’t been affected by the financial crisis and neither has the recent volcanic ash had any negative impact on

the agency: “We are so lucky that former guests are recommending us to friends and family, and apparently people are listening. Also, our expanded collaboration with Visit Beyond (former Jysk Travel) has been good for the company. Visit Beyond has now allowed us to use their products, which has been very popular with our

guests. And as for the volcanic ash, we haven’t really noticed it. We had a few stranded guests and some that never made it to Thailand but financially Evolution Tour is in no trouble whatsoever.” Fore more information about Evolution Tour and its products on www.evolutiontour.com

Danish radio keeps Brian on top of his game

It has been 1½ years since Brian last visited his native country Denmark but “with P3 streaming live from the Internet, everything’s just fine,” Brian declares and laughs. Even though, it is always nice to return to Denmark, Thailand has been his home since the now 33 year old was 22 and so far Brian, his wife and their two children Nemo, 6, and Nicoline, 1, enjoy living on Koh Chang: “A better school for the children is currently the only thing that could make us move from Koh Chang. Then we would head up to Bangkok, however, the plan so far is that the kids shall have the opportunity to go to Denmark when they reach seventh or eighth grade in order to finish the Danish lower secondary school. We are members of danes.dk and we’re signed up for distance education.” However, Brian has no intentions of moving back to Denmark, May 2010

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Land for Sale Means W The Danish Pattaya developer Ib Ottesen is in a dilemma. He loves to spend time on his boat but at the same time it’s in his blood to start new projects. His oldest son Allan is responsible for the sale of the units in the newest apartment project Jomtien Beach Penthouses. The desire of retirement comes closer and closer, the Dane says. But …

We are selffinanced because I like a good night’s sleep with no nightmares Ib Ottesen

By Bjarne Wildau

P

ay a visit to Ib Ottesen, developer, restaurateur, and hotel owner, in Pattaya and you will hear nothing about

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crisis. “We are building like never before. Our newest project, Jomtien Beach Penthouses, will be ready as promised on 1st October 2010, and sales are doing well,” says Ib Ottesen who last year opened a coffee shop called Nanda´s on Jomtien Beach Road; just a stone throw away from another great success of the Ottesen family, Jomtien Boathouse. We meet at the sales office in Jomtien Beach Soi 9. Ib’s oldest son Allan, 25, sits besides his 32 year older father. The son isn’t saying much, but in reality he has been responsible for the daily sale of apartments for several years. It seems like he picked up from his father, the millionaire, quite well. At least good enough for the proud father to tell that his son has already sold a third of the apartments at Jomtien Beach Penthouses. www.jomtienbeachpenthouses.com When the conversation

returns to the crisis, Ib Ottesen explains why he looks so fit and relaxed. “We are self-financed. We never start anything for other people’s money. I myself love a good night’s sleep with no disruptions or nightmares. That’s why banks are just a useful tool to run the daily business,” says Ib Ottesen and smiles. When asked if he thinks that other people consider it as an old-fashioned attitude, his reply comes with ease. “Borrowing money to finance a project may work in times when everything is running well. But what happens when everything collapses as we saw it a year or two ago,” says Ib Ottesen who’s childhood was rather frustrating. “I hated school. I never learned anything useful, so I sneaked out in the middle of the night and got my first job on a Danish ship.” Years later he got Thailand on his radar thanks to an education as an officer’s trainee for A. P. Moller. In September 1972, Ib came to Thailand for the first time. The exotic East was just

what Ib had been looking for and, thus, left no doubt about where he was going to spend a three months holiday in 1973; in Bangkok, of course. But what does a 21 year old Dane do to make a living for himself in Thailand. As a young man, he had learned to handle a guitar and that soon came in handy. Ib Ottesen played the guitar and sang John Denver and Johnny Cash songs every night at Cloud 9 in the infamous red-light district Pat Pong. “For four hours every night, just me. It was hard work but I was not the one to complain. I was paid 200 baht a night, while the sailors out here made 3,000 baht per month. It was just perfect being here,” Ib Ottesen says. But all good must come to an end. Ib Ottesen had to return to Denmark to finish his studies. He packed his bags and went back with his Thai wife. Ib’s studies went well. In 1975, he became an officer and in 1976 a ship master. A.P. Moller had been so pleased with him that they hired him after he graduated. When working for A.P. Moller, Ib Ottesen sailed the

seven seas. However, things did not go as well on the home front and Ib divorced his wife. Nevertheless, Thailand was still on the young man’s mind and being a single man, it was no difficult decision to make; in November 1978, Ib expatriated to Bangkok. He started a Danish restaurant in Bangkok with two fellow Danes. But the restaurant did not turn out to be as profitable as Ib had expected. Ib barely knew what was going on in the restaurant as he spent most time at sea. Then, in 1980, Ib stopped spending time at sea but that did not mean that he left the shipping trade. Via a job in the administration, he started to inspect ships for damages and in 1980 Ib Ottesen became a professional diver. But the company Ib worked for could not repair the damages and for Ib there was just one solution to that. Create a company that can. Ib opened Marine Surveyors in Bangkok with fellow Dane Jørgen Lundbæk. “It was pretty clever. In my ordinary job I could inspect the ships and then Mermaid’s Marine Services could offer to fix the damages,” Ib tells, smilingly. Later several adventures followed; mainly in the hospitality industry in Bangkok until he sold it all and moved to Pattaya with his second wife Kannikar and their children. Pattaya was no random choice. In 1989, Ib built the


Work for the Ottesens

hotel Mermaid Beach Resort in Pattaya but sold it three years later. Later he flirted with retirement at the age of 41.Ib and his wife slept in, took a swim, watched TV, and went to the diving school that Ib still had shares in. But something was missing until his wife told him about some land that was for sale and which would be perfect for a divers hotel. “Soon we were building a hotel and working round the clock again,” Ib says with a smile on his face. “I just love when we are going to build something new. Seeing that it works and that people like to live there is a thrill to me.” Later the Dane built

Residence Gardens and Residence Suites, making a total of almost 130 apartments. Once again he started flirting with retirement. A wonderful boat, that most people can only dream about, was on the line. Ib Ottesen spend a lot of time on the boat, which was based in Koh Chang, but still most of his time he spend in Jomtien. This Thursday in May, the Danish developer and millionaire is once again talking about stepping back from the daily business and finally settling on the boat. “I am 57 now. If I am lucky I will turn 58, but nobody knows. The daily business here is doing fine. My son Allan is already

selling our new apartments,” says Ib Ottesen. But five minutes later the Dane starts talking about the last piece of land on Soi 9 where the sales office is placed. The land is almost screaming for a new project. There is also some land on the Jomtien Beach Road, where there is space for a hotel with 88 rooms, almost next to his Jomtien Boat House. Maybe the boat has to take care of itself for another year or maybe even ten. Perhaps his wife will save him from retirement again if she comes home with news about a new slice of land for sale. Just before the interview is over, Ib Ottesen turns to the political crisis in Thailand.

Ib Ottesen with son Allan who is responsible for sales in his father’s millionaire company “There is no doubt that the political crisis hurts the hospitality industry. Luckily our guests love Thailand too much to stay away. The single men and the regular customers will return time and time again. But the potential guests who have never been to Thailand will choose Bali, Vietnam or maybe even Cambodia instead.” Only time can solve the political crisis. “Meanwhile, we have to take extra good care of the guests that we already have. No one here can afford to loose them,” says Ib Ottesen. May 2010

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Nordic SAS Networking Swedish Meatballs, a Packed Bar, Cold Beers, and Business Card Swap

T

hursday night 4 March 2010 was Nordic networking night at the cosy Minibar Royale at Sukhumvit Soi 23, sponsored by Scandinavian Airlines. No less than 120 Scandinavians and Thais packed together at the 75

cosy square meters, all enjoying an evening with good food and good company. On the menu this night was fried squid, Swedish meatballs, champagne and cold beer - all paid by SAS. The crowded room was filled with voices in both Swedish, Danish, Finnish and English, so it was bit of a challenge to hear what was said and even more to move about, but that was not really needed as the skilled staff at the Minibar Royale manoeuvred around and served cold drinks for everyone. Poul Skov-Petersen, director in sales and marketing at Fireexpress, was one of the Scandinavians and Thais who enjoyed this Thursday night of free drinks and food, and business card swap. Poul SkovPetersen thinks that networking events is good place to meet new people, especially when the Nordic chambers has a joint networking, like this night at Minibar Royale. Then he raises his beer, smiles and says: “And of course it is good place to have a beer with your business associates – Skål!”

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Networking with

Saxo Capital

From left Bent Laasholdt, Peter Vind, Per Lind, Thomas Christiansen (Grand Millenium) and Karen Hochhauser and Zoltan Kosa (Santa Fe).

Markets

T

he Danish Thai Chamber of Commerce on 21 April presented Saxo Capital Markets as sponsor for the monthly Networking event. Saxo Capital Markets is located in Singapore and enables private investors and institutional clients to trade FX, CFDs, Stocks, Futures, Options and other derivatives via multi-award winning online trading platforms, as well as offering professional portfolio and fund management The networking was held in pleasant surroundings at Grand Millennium Sukhumvit in the inBlu Jazz Lounge. Many participants took the opportunity enjoy a delicious dinner at half price as well as happy hour after the event.

Special Priser t t t t t t

Fri kilometer Kaskoforsikring Lufthavnsgebyr Moms Personbiler Stationcars

t Luksusbiler t Minibusser t 40 udlejningskontorer inkl. alle lufthavne t Intet one-way gebyr i Danmark (ved min. 3 dages leje)

www.europcar.dk

Reservation +45 89 33 11 33 E-mail: reservations@europcar.dk May 2010

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The Great Easter Lunch M embers of the Danish Thai Chamber of Commerce had turned out in full force to celebrated this great traditional Easter Lunch. It says a lot about the popularity of this event, that people who signed up during the last week were put on a waiting list! “We will contact you if there are any cancellations ...� Mai Ellegaard, Chairman of the Event Committee of the Chamber, held a short welcome speech. She thanked in particular the generous sponsor of the event, ECCO, whose logo among others were on all schnapps glasses. Then the buffet opened and all had a great time aroound the tables in the cosy old-style restaurant on the first floor of Los Cabos - same place as the regular networking evenings, which is every third Wednesday of the month, take place.

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Nyborg Gymnasium

KOSTSKOLEN

På kostskolen ved Nyborg Gymnasium bor du i dejlige omgivelser midt i Danmark, samtidig med at du tager en dansk studenter- eller hf-eksamen eller den internationale studentereksamen International Baccalaureate (IB). Skolen lægger vægt på gode og tætte kontakter mellem elever, lærere og øvrigt personale: på kostafdelingen i form af elevdemokrati, på skolen i form af et tæt samarbejde om den enkelte klasse og elev. Vi sender gerne yderligere oplysninger og ansøgningsskema. Skolebakken 13 DK-5800 Nyborg Tlf +45 65 31 02 17 Fax +45 63 25 52 19 post@nyborg-gym.dk www.nyborg-gym.dk

May 2010

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Why Become a Member? Help improving the ties between Denmark and Thailand. Support the Danish–Thai Chamber of Commerce and strengthen the Danish business community in Thailand.

I

f you are involved in business between Thailand and Denmark, you will have great advantage of joining the network of the Danish–Thai Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber acts as a forum where you can exchange ideas, experiences and knowledge and where your company will be exposed to the top executives in the region. The Danish Thai Chamber of Commerce is very proud to say that it is one of the most active Chambers in Thailand with more than 175 members, and a membership will give you many benefits as well as networking opportunities with the large Danish community. We have events and functions several times a month that offer our members relevant information about living and working in Thailand. The Chamber has therefore become a natural place to look and search for information.

Keep yourself informed

• Receive the Chamber magazine Danish-Thai Trade News five times a year. Read articles on what goes on in terms of business between our two countries, as well as keeping you updated on the activities of members of the Chamber. • Receive the annual DanCham Business Directory with a comprehensive overview of Thai-Danish Bilateral Trade in the region, as well as introducing all members of the Chamber. • Our website www.dancham.or.th is your gateway to last minute news affecting the business community in South–East Asia, as well as giving you a good overview of upcoming Chamber Events. • Monthly legal updates with a summary of new or updated laws. This comes with compliments of one of Thailand's legal law firms.

New Members Corporate MEINHARDT (THAILAND) LTD. 15th - 16th Floor, Thanapoom Tower 1550 New Petchburi Road, Makkasan Ratchtevee, Bangkok 10400 Tel: +66 2 207 0568 Fax: +66 2 207 0574 Website: www.meinhardt.net Mr. John Mugford Executive Engineer WAS TRADING CORPORATION LTD. 11 Ramkhamhaeng Road, Saphansoong Saphansoong, Bangkok 10240 Tel: +66 2 373 13 70 Fax: +66 2 373 16 18 Website: www.saweng.com Mr. Soren Kirkegaard Nielsen Managing Director Mr. Michael Thorsfelt Business Development Manager

Individual JANNIE MARI Lille Blødevej 5, 3600 frederikssund Denmark Tel: +66 80 559 1710 Mobile: +45 2972 4547

Events

Being a member of DanCham you are entitled to enter our events favorable member prices as well as being invited to exclusive member events. • Monthly networking events – Free of charge for members. • Join the many events through speakers' luncheons, breakfast meetings and seminars, some organized in corporation with other bilateral Chambers of Commerce in Bangkok. • Participate in our main yearly events Christmas lunch and Easter lunch where traditional Danish food is served. • AGM – participate in our annual general meeting where members have voting rights • Join our company visits in Thailand to see how DanCham Members are driving their business forward.

Promote your company

As a member you will have various opportunities to promote your company to the Danish business community. • Sponsor an event - A fantastic opportunity for your organization to gain exposure. • Get a banner of our website • Get an add in our Trade News or in the business directory.

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Calendar COMING EVENTS EUROPEAN CHAMBERS BREAKFAST SEMINAR

01 JUNE 2010

DANCHAM NETWORKING

16 JUNE 2010


May 2010

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Danish-Thai Trade News MAY 2010