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  Thailand Articles

15 Feb 2008 20:31:10 GMT

Selling a Business in Thailand


So, you’re thinking about selling your business in Thailand. It’s an exciting and important decision. You’ve invested a substantial amount of hard work, time, sacrifice, risk, and money in creating a source of wealth for you and your family. We’ve been involved in helping literally hundreds of buyers and sellers navigate their way to successful business transfers over the past decade. We can help you, too.


Should  use a business advisor?


When you decide to sell a business in Thailand, you’ll have to decide whether to attempt to complete the sale on your own, or with the help of an outside advisor. Indeed, the same question arises with buying or selling business or property in any country. You may well have bought or sold a business before, in which case you’ve already considered some of these issues. They are, of course, complicated by the buyer’s possible unfamiliarity with this country’s culture and legal system, and with local market conditions.


A professional business transfer specialist can be helpful in several ways.


  • They can provide you with a wide selection of other available businesses for your review in deciding your “asking price” and terms.

  • They can, after consultation with you, screen prospective buyers and select a limited number that fit your business and price, saving you time.

  • If they have been in business locally for several years, brokers can sometimes offer valuable insights into local market conditions and future development plans that can make a given business or location more or less valuable to prospective buyers.

  • They can advise you of “going” prices for businesses or properties in a particular area, helping you to negotiate a fair price.

  • They can assure that terms and documentation are legal and complete, and may be able to offer assistance in areas like law, accounting, and tax minimization.


How can our team of business transfer specialists help you?


We were one of the first business advisory services in Pattaya. We spend almost 20 years in the business and real estate brokerage business in the US before moving to Thailand, We’re now one of the largest, and most respected, companies in the area. In addition to offering “For Sale” listings we also offer the services of in-house business organization consultants, Thai legal and tax experts, and business accountants. Our team approach to business transfer advising is unique in the area, and along with our well- established reputation for integrity and service, lets us offer you the full range of advice and assistance to help you make the sale of your business “error free”.


Finding a buyer for your business


In many ways it’s easier to find a seller of a business than it is to find a buyer.


After all, sellers take out ads in newspapers, post “For Sale” signs in front of their business, and employ one or more business brokers to promote their businesses.


Of course, sometimes sellers need to keep the availability of their business-for-sale confidential, to avoid harming employee and customer morale, to maintain the availability of credit, and to keep competitors from using a business’ availability for sale as a competitive weapon.


Handled discretely, the search for customers may encompass competitors, employees (either singly or as a group); suppliers; and customers, as well as prospective buyers who have made their interest known to associates or to a professional broker.


There are advantages and disadvantages to negotiating a sale to each of these groups. To negotiate the best price and terms for your eventual sale, you will certainly also need to factor in both buyer’s and seller’s motivations, as well as location, years in business, profitability and local market conditions.


Typically, a prospective buyer will want to know everything they can about your business’ part performance, including sales and profits or losses; profit trend over the past several years and the factors behind those trends; employee performance, stability and morale; your investments and ROI; and your motivations for selling.


The well-prepared buyer is also interested in future prospects in your industry, in your local market, and in your location, and will be calculating all capital investment required to acquire and improve/expand/protect the business’ future profitability. We can help with this investigation through our market-research capabilities.


Consider the differing concerns of different “types” of potential buyers.


Financial Buyers These buyers are primarily interested in your company’s cash flow. They have money to invest, and are looking for a company to acquire that will give them good return on investment, good prospects for future appreciation, and that have strong management in place. These buyers may be viewed (whether literally true or not) as “holding companies”.


Strategic Buyers These buyers are looking to acquire a “working asset”, a company that will mesh with their existing business(es) for a stronger future company through synergy. They may be an existing competitor, or a similar company from a different area looking to establish a presence in your local market. Often a strategic buyer would be a larger company that does what you do and wants to absorb your existing clientele or processes. Other strategic buyers might come from a related business whose management sees the long-term benefit of expanding into your field to support, supply, or supplement their existing companies or products.


Employees, managers, or other “insiders”:  Yet another group of prospective buyers for your company are people who already know your business from the inside and may already have a stake in seeing it prosper. Insider buyers may be willing to pay more for a business than would outsiders because their inside knowledge and positioning can lower risks or increase performance and profitability.


Establishing a price for an existing business


When a prospective buyer or seller of an existing business first approaches a professional business broker, they usually have some idea in mind of what they want to spend, or to get for their business.


And certainly those original ideas are important to the broker. For the buyer, there may be a finite amount of money to use to buy a business, or they may have established a budget for themselves that they won’t exceed. That helps the broker evaluate which available businesses should be considered for acquisition.


For the seller, as well, having an idea of what they want for their business can help the broker in setting an “asking price”. But there are, in fact, established formulae that the market has developed over time that help buyer and seller reach a fair and realistic price.


Market conditions and the nature of each business come into play. Businesses like grocery stores, that operate on very low profit margins but have high stock turnover volume, are priced using different formulae than are, for instance, automobile dealerships that tend to have low volume but fairly high profit margins.


An experienced business broker knows the local market and the different pricing models for different industries, and is well positioned to help both buyer and seller understand – within a range – what they may expect a selling price for a given business to be. Asking too much, or offering too little, doesn’t lead to a successful sale. Negotiating within industry averages and local conditions is the best way to reach a successful “win/win” agreement.


We represent both buyers and sellers, with full disclosure of our role when we represent both in a particular sale. We know the local market, we know “going prices” for a wide range of businesses, and we are committed to helping both buyer and seller achieve their objectives. Many times we’ve represented sellers who originally acquired their businesses using our services as buyers. We take that as a high compliment and testimony to our professional knowledge, skills, and integrity.


Do you need an attorney or accountant?


Yes.  Especially but not exclusively in Thailand, there are so many legal and accounting technicalities involved in transferring business ownership that expert counsel and assistance will, in virtually every case, more than make up for the cost of acquiring it. Sometimes much more!


Included in The Evans Team is one of the area’s best-known and most highly-respected legal service agencies, Sathienraphong-Evans Law & Accounting Co., Ltd. That firm offers, on a fee-for-services basis, complete legal counsel and services, and complete business accounting services, in-house. As such, we are confident that you will be provided with full and expert advice on how to structure your sale of a business in complete accordance with the laws of Thailand, including how to organize the business and the sale in such a way as to minimize the taxes you will legally owe as a result of the acquisition.


At all times we remember, respect, and fully appreciate that your business represents a substantial investment over time in hard work, worry, sacrifice, time, and money to make it successful, and attractive to a prospective buyer.


Who pays the fees/commissions of the business advisors?


The seller typically pays the broker’s commission, unless the buyer has retained them as buyers representatives to represent the buyers’ interests. While The Evans Team will make every effort to create a “win/win” relationship between buyer and seller, legally all involved in representing either party are required foremost to provide for the interests of the party paying them. To be certain that every contingency has been considered and your interests always protected, you may elect to retain an outside attorney and/or accountant experienced in reviewing similar business acquisitions. We will fully support such outside review.


Best Wishes. Please call on us at any time that we may be of assistance.


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