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  Thailand Articles

11 Jan 2008 20:31:10 GMT
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Buying a Business in Thailand




So, you’re thinking about buying a business in Thailand. It’s an exciting and important decision. You’re investing a substantial amount of the savings you’ve created through time, risk, sacrifice, and hard work, and you need to make sure that the investment you’ll make is sound and prudent. Even more, you’ll want to make sure that your decision reflects the decisions you’ve made about the kind of investment you’re looking for – one that generates income, or one that maximizes security, or one that anticipates asset appreciation.


We’ve been involved in helping literally hundreds of buyers and sellers navigate their way to successful business transfers over most of the past decade. We can help you, too.


Are you a “financial” buyer or a “strategic” buyer?


Your reasons for acquiring a business will have a great importance in finding the “right” business to acquire.


Do you want to take an active role in managing a business or will you be a passive investor? Do you seek income or asset appreciation?


Financial Buyers are primarily interested in a 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. The buyer may intend to play an active role in managing the business, or they may view the business (whether literally organized as such or not) as a “holding company”.


Strategic 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 the local market. Often a strategic buyer would be a larger company that does what the target company does and wants to absorb its existing clientele or processes. Other strategic buyers might come from a related business whose management sees the long-term benefit of expanding into a new field to support, supply, or supplement their existing companies or products.



Should I use an Outside Advisor?


When you decide to buy a business in Thailand – whether you initially found that business here or through another source – 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 a 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 available businesses for your review in refining you choices, and in deciding your “offering price” and terms.

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

  • They can act as a “go-between” between buyer and seller, minimizing the risks of anger or misunderstandings, and saving you valuable time in the back-and-forth of negotiations.

  • 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 the first “business advisors” in Pattaya, moving here in 1999 after several years in Bangkok. Prior to that we worked as business brokers and marketing consultants in the US for almost 15 years. We’re now one of the largest, and most respected, companies in the area. In addition to marketing businesses and real estate for sale and presiding over the “closing” of a sale, we also offer business management consulting; direct management services; expert Thai legal and tax advisors and attorneys; and tax accountants. Our team approach to business transfer advising through our four web sites (;; PattayaInvestments .com; and Pattaya 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 purchase of a business “error free”.


An important note: Most of our listings, especially for businesses and investment properties for sale, are exclusive and will not be available through any other Pattaya broker. Indeed, some of our most desirable listings are not even made public on our own web sites, as the owners/sellers do not want it publicly known that their business or investment property is for sale. So it would be advisable to visit our office early in your search to discuss your interest in acquiring a business in Thailand.


Finding the right seller to do business with


There are advantages and disadvantages to negotiating a sale with every individual seller. To negotiate the best price and terms for your eventual acquisition, you will certainly need to factor in the seller’s motivations, the local market conditions, and any future plans by government or major developers/companies in the area that might affect the value of investing in a particular area.


Obviously you’ll want to know everything you can about a business’ past performance, including sale and profits or losses; profit trends over the past several years and the factors behind those trends; employee performance, stability and morale; the prospective ROI on your investment; and how well a particular investment will fit within your investing strategy.


The well-prepared buyer will also be interested in future prospects in a given industry, in the local market, and in a particular location. S/he will also be calculating all capital investment required to acquire and improve/expand/ protect the business’ future profitability.


Most of all you’ll want to do business with a seller who is equally or more motivated to complete a sale as you are. We’ve seen sellers offer businesses for sale just for the satisfaction of attracting offers, which they have no intention of accepting. We’ve seen sellers who offer businesses for sale at a given price and then raise their asking price after getting an offer, convinced that someone else will offer more. We’ve seen sellers who’ve offered businesses for sale that they don’t actually own. And we’ve seen sellers offer their business for sale at almost any price because a financial or health crisis required immediate cash.


So, there’s a great deal more involved in buying a business than price.


Establishing a price for an existing business


When a prospective buyer or seller of an existing business first approaches a professional business advisor, they usually have some idea in mind of what they want to spend, or to get, for a 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 among 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 advisor in setting an “asking price”.


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


An experienced business advisor 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 buyers and sellers achieve their objectives. We find ourselves, with increasing frequency, representing sellers who originally acquired their businesses as buyers using our serves. We take their decision to return to Evans Marketing to market their business as a high compliment and testimony to our professional knowledge, skills, and integrity.


Do you really need an outside 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 the Sathienraphong-Evans Law & Accounting Co., Ltd., managed by Attorney Sathienraphong Khumnon, one of the area’s best-known and most highly-respected attorneys. That company offers both legal advice 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 acquisition of a business in complete accordance with the laws of Thailand, including how to organize your ownership of the business in such a way as to minimize the taxes you will legally owe as a result of the acquisition.


Who pays the fees/commissions of the business broker?


The seller typically pays the broker’s commission, unless the buyer has retained the broker to represent their interests. While the Evans team will make every effort to create a “win/win” relationship between buyer and seller, legally and ethically all involved in representing either party are required foremost to provide for the interests of the party paying them.


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