Saturday, October 29, 2011

Corporates lend a helping hand

Corporates lend a helping hand

Throughout the past two weeks, our hearts have gone out to the thousands of flood victims in several provinces, including Bangkok now. As the number of victims and the economic damage continue to rise, private companies are joining hands in lending as much help as they can, with cash and non-cash assistance, as well as strategies to help Thailand cope with future disasters.

Siam Cement Group, for instance, has set aside not only Bt200 million for aid, but the disaster is encouraging the group to invent new products that could help cushion the impact. SCG president Kan Trakulhoon revealed that one of the products could be mobile housing units. "We will seriously explore housing innovation to cope with flood disasters and help disseminate preventive measures to the general public. Let us express our deep condolences to all sufferers. We are hopeful that the situation will get better soon," Kan said.

Like many other companies, SCG has distributed more than 20,000 relief bags, boats, water tanks, life jackets and specially invented mobile toilets. As an operator in the construction industry, it has also supplied flood-protection materials to the government and Bangkok, including a million sand bags. Once the water subsides, SCG plans to open a repair clinic, to be manned by a team of engineers and architects. They will provide advice on how to repair houses and roads. It will also offer discounts on construction materials and work for the rehabilitation of 300 schools and nurseries through volunteer employees.

Last week, PTT Group also unveiled assistance plans which included 11 projects to be launched after the water subsides. It has so far extended assistance worth more than Bt200 million through cash donation, boats, relief bags, food and drinking water, fuel and others. Its units - IRPC and PTT Global Chemical - also donated 15 tonnes of PP and HDPE plastic pellets worth Bt700,000 used in the manufacture of mobile toilets and boats by Srithai Superware, Thairung Union Car, Thai Plastic Bags Industries, Vandapac Co and King Mongkut's University Thonburi. From the plastic pellets, they can make 7,500 mobile toilets, 50 3-metre x 2-metre boats, and plastic bags.

PTT president and CEO Pailin Chuchottaworn said the group plans 11 rehabilitation projects, which will be kicked off after the water subsides. They include road repair and engine tune-up projects. For every litre of fuel sold, PTT will contribute 20 satang and the proceeds will go towards His Majesty's flood-relief projects. PTT's volunteer employees are also in flood-hit areas.

"We're putting in our best efforts to ensure that all help is in line with plans, and reaches the most-affected," Pailin said.

Assistance is coming from companies in all sectors, and they are offering what they are best at. Those in the banking sector have come up with loan packages. Through the Thai Bankers Association, they have promised unlimited assistance to individuals and companies affected by the floods, aside from providing Bt100 million in cash donation. Hire-purchase loan providers like Thanachart Bank will offer a 90-day holiday on loan repayments and extend the loan term by 12 months maximum.

Sugar millers have raised Bt35 million to support recovery measures, aside from providing technical assistance to affected sugar-cane farmers.

Before getting caught in the water, Siam Kubota Co, which operates a big plant in inundated Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate, on October 13 presented 100 diesel-fuelled engines and 150 petrol-driven engines worth Bt5.5 million to the PM's Office, to pump water out of flooded areas. Tuna exporter Thai Union Frozen Products has donated canned food and other stuff worth Bt7.2 million.

Telecom companies are offering free top-ups for victims, to assist their calls for help.

Thai Airways International and its subsidiary Nok Air are operating free freight services, carrying donated food and medical supplies from the Flood Relief Operations Centre to Phitsanulok and Nakhon Sawan.

Bayer (Thai) Co has donated cash and medical supplies worth Bt2.33 million, including 8,300 tubes of antifungal cream, 5,000 tins of antiseptic ointment, 102,000 tablets of water purification, and cash collected from the employees as well as the company to Thai Red Cross Society.

BP Foods, a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand Group, which is the sole producer of elephant food, on October 17 donated 10 tonnes of food for over 100 elephants in Ayutthaya, believed to last for one month.

Yum Restaurants International (Thailand) has delivered fried chicken from its KFC food shops to flood victims in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani, on top of Bt1 million cash donation. Donations are accepted at all KFC and Pizza Hut branches. Yum is devising plans to assist in post-flood rehabilitation efforts.

Help has also come from overseas companies with long-time presence in Thailand like Sony Corp and Hitachi Corp, with the two donating ¥30 million (Bt11.4 million) each.

Help also comes from:

- Scotia Bank donated US$100,000 to the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation.

- Betagro Group: Bt1 million to the Royal Thai Air Force’s "One Heart" campaign.

- Supalai Plc donated Bt500,000, raised from those attending the funeral service of President Atip Bijanonda’s mother.

- TMB Bank raised Bt3.7 million through donation account and contributed a matching amount. All Bt7.44 million was presented to the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation.

- Bangkok Airways sets up "Donation Centre for Flood Relief" at Head Office on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road.

- Kuang Pei San Food Products Plc, the producer of Pumpui (Smiling Fish) brand canned tuna, donated 50,000 canned food worth Bt1.6 million to PM’s Office.

- Amata Corp Plc donated Bt500,000 to OPM Disaster Relief Fund, aside from Bt1 million to the Stock Exchange of Thailand-organised matching fund.

- Kiatnakin Bank contributed Bt2 million to the SET-organised fund.

- Fuji Xerox donated Bt1 million to Thai Red Cross Society

- Central Watson Co Ltd donated necessity items and drinking water worth Bt200,000.

- TISCO Group handed over the donation raised by its bank account, as well as its own Bt500,000 donation to Chaipattana Foundation.

- KT ZMICO Securities provided 1,000 life vests, to be distributed by Stock Exchange of Thailand.
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