On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to present the Annual Report of Central Plaza Hotel Plc for our fiscal year ending 31 December 2018. I am happy to report that we again achieved our goals and are progressing positively into the second year of our five-year strategic plan, during which we expect to leverage our strengths, improve our capabilities, and double our size.
This past year was not without challenges. The global economy grew more slowly and was rife with new uncertainties such as Brexit, trade disagreements, and political crisis in the Maldives. The Baht’s strengthening makes Thailand more expensive. And we were set back at mid-year by the boat tragedy in Phuket, which threatened the country’s reputation with its biggest inbound market. Chinese tourist number dropped as a result.
As we have seen before, however, Thailand’s appeal as a tourism and MICE destination is resilient to such headwinds. Thanks to our diverse geographic mix, we are able to sustain growth. In 2018 Thailand saw over 38 million arrivals and Bangkok remains one of the most visited cities in the world, rivaling Paris and London.
Against this backdrop, the company again increased revenue and profit to record levels, and added new properties in Thailand, Laos and the Middle East.
Our five-year strategic plan, established a little over a year ago, gives us a blueprint for adapting to market changes and continuing to grow profitably. It is ambitious in its intention to expand and exploit market opportunities, both where we are already and in high-potential market niches we can develop in the region. It challenges us to leverage our alliances within the Central Group. It also identifies internal improvements in our systems and processes, where we can operate in more technologically advanced and efficient ways.
Most important to me, it articulates our foundational strengths – what sets us apart from other hotel companies, defines our brand and underlies our success. This is our culture of Thai-style hospitality, including great food, love of children and families; gentle smiles and pampering spas. It is also our flexibility in designing diverse formats to suit a variety of destinations, including some of the most beautiful places in Thailand and the region. Centara has also solidified its reputation as a country leader in MICE industry. We offer state-of-the-art facilities and this, backed by the experience and expertise of the event teams, make our properties a prime choice for any occasion ranging from meetings, seminars, large-scale activities and complex events. Centara has up to 4 prime conference and seminar centres that are ready to serve customers for small and large events. Our modern facilities and unparalleled MICE service standards can accommodate up to 4,000 people with ease.
Our flexibility in designing hotels and resorts in a variety of formats to suit a variety of destinations and the ever-changing behaviours of travellers is at the core of our proposition. We continue to expand to the finest locations both in Thailand and internationally in parallel with the launch of a new and young hotel brand “COSI”. The COSI concept is our vision of what a hotel should be for today’s independent, digital loving travellers. We have focused on making it simple, relaxed and affordable, yet perfectly in sync with the demands and needs of our guests’ lifestyles. Whether travelling for leisure or work, the newest COSI will capture the market with a perfect mix of location, innovation, seamless connectivity and total freedom and flexibility. The COSI brand aim to expand our reach to new generations of travellers who demand a different vacation experience.
These strengths give us the ability to stay competitive and satisfy the needs of travellers ranging from young, independent adventure-seekers to honeymooners, busy executives, and wealthy retirees. These strengths are how Centara remains distinctive among the many choices of accommodations.
As for the retail food business, Central Restaurants Group or CRG saw strong revenue growth in 2018 as a result of branch expansion and successful product launches. This includes the improvement of services and marketing operations to increase sales for major brands, especially KFC, Ootoya and Auntie Anne’s.
Besides the major brands, CRG is also accelerating the expansion of potential brands including Pepper Lunch, Yoshinoya, Tenya and Katsuya. The sales of these four brands in 2018 exceeded 1 billion baht. Delivery sales achieved 20% growth primarily through our collaboration with leading food delivery partners such as Grab Food, Line Man and Food Panda and the development of our own delivery platform, which is slated to fully launch in 2019.
Our success would not be possible without the support of our shareholders, business partners, suppliers, and everyone working at the company. I appreciate your hard work, dedication, and commitment, which we will continue to rely on as we serve our customers in the future.
Mr. Suthikiati Chirathivat
Chairman of the Board