Our final few days in Bangkok were spent touring more temples, attending a muaythai boxing match, and visiting several companies. After a day trip to Ayutthaya, a historic city outside of Bangkok, we spent Thursday visiting Sansiri, a real estate development company. The Chazen Thailand trek was retail and real estate focused, so this company visit was of interest to many of my classmates and our real estate professor. As someone who was relatively unfamiliar with real estate development companies and how they operate, I, too, was excited about this visit.
Sansiri Public Company Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development of properties in Thailand (over 300 to be exact). This publicly traded company operates in property Development, Project Management, and Real Estate Brokerage. The Property Development segment develops land and housing projects, as well as residential condominium projects, and rents serviced apartments and office buildings. Our visit was focused on learning more about this segment – we visited Sansiri’s flagship property development project, a luxury apartment building located in central Bangkok. The apartment building is one of more than 300 projects nationwide managed by the company. Comprised of 77 units across 25 floors, this contemporary-classic style high luxury building is immaculate. According to the leasing office, there are 13 units left and they are all open to foreign buyers (there is a law in Thailand that 51% of residents must be Thai). The starting price per unit? Around $2M.
While at the luxury building, we had the chance to meet with the President of Sansiri, Srettha Thavisin. We met with the President of the company, who spoke in detail about the company’s expansion and how it weathered the real estate crisis in 2007. The company has expanded beyond property development, and now even owns large stakes in big development projects like The Standard Hotel (we were intrigued to hear this since many of us have been to the Beer Garden there for a CBS happy hour). Mr. Thavisin explained the real estate crisis to us as well – at the time when the crisis hit its peak, the debt to equity ratio of many real estate firms was 15 to 1. The firms that survived went through major debt restructuring; banks bought debt in exchange for equity, and companies’ debt to equity ratios began to normalize. Now, Sansiri’s D:E is 1.5 to 1.
Our final day in Bangkok was spent touring Bumrungrad International Hospital, followed by a free afternoon of packing, shopping, and Thai massages. As a healthcare junkie, I was highly anticipating this final company visit. Bumrungrad International Hospital is a Joint Commission International accredited, multi-specialty hospital located in the heart of Bangkok. Founded in 1980, it is one of the largest private hospitals in Southeast Asia, with 580 beds and 30 specialty centers. The state-of the-art facility offers top-notch diagnostic, therapeutic, and intensive care services. When we walked into the hospital it felt more like a hotel than a medical center – the lounges and lobby areas are lush, and the staff are extremely friendly and warm.
We met with David Thomas Boucher, who is currently consulting within the business development team of the hospital. Mr. Boucher is from the U.S. and has worked in healthcare for over 35 years. His presentation focused on the hospital’s competitive advantages compared to U.S. and other developed countries’ medical centers. Bumrungrad specializes in medical tourism and concierge medicine, two big buzzwords in the healthcare industry. Most of Bumrungrad’s patients are middle-to-high income and are required to provide proof of payment before a service is conducted. The hospital technically accepts insurance, but many of its patients just pay out of pocket and don’t file. In terms of price, the hospital lauds that it is extremely affordable. Overall, it serves 1.1 million patients annually, including over 520,000 international patients. People fly from near and far to receive treatment here from world-renowned doctors and surgeons. Our group was especially impressed with the operations of the hospital – everything from checking in, gathering vitals, seeing a doctor, checking out, and paying the bill appeared streamlined and efficient.
Stay tuned for my final wrap-up post!