Financial Analysis of Thai Internet Service Providers

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1 Financial Analysis of Thai Internet Service Providers Rear Admiral Prasart Sribhadung Assumption University Abstract This paper analyzes the financial status of Thai Internet Service Providers (ISP) after ten years of operation. The bulk of financial information is derived from the online database of Business Online Company Ltd. maintained as a concession from the Ministry of Commerce. The result shows that Internet usage in Thailand is increasing, and the report confirms that revenue of ISPs are increasing, but also increasing is the operating cost of ISP services. As a result, the majority of ISPs are not making profit. 1. Commercial Internet Service Provider The first ISP that was a company limited was actually KSC Commercial Internet that received its license from CAT on the 31 st October 1994, registered its joint venture with CAT on the 21 st December 1994, and officially launched in May After the first two ISPs started operation, sixteen more were granted licenses to operate Internet services by CAT, resulting in eighteen licensed ISPs in Internet Thailand changed status to company limited in May 1997, then to public company in September Apart from the eighteen ISPs with legal operating licenses, there are presently several ISPs operating without license. Among them, TOT Corporation and CAT Telecom Public Company, the two former government telecommunication agencies privatized, became business companies limited and later public company limited in 2002 and 2003 respectively. 2. Research Objectives It has been openly speculated all along since the early days of ISPs in Thailand that most of the ISPs with few exceptions are not making any profit since they started operation. Nobody really knew the truth, how bad the situation was, or what was the cause, but some ISP ceased operation, and some sold out their businesses. So, the objective of this research is to verify whether the speculation is true, if true how serious is it, and find out whether it is because there is no growth in Internet usage, or due to some other problems. Several hypotheses are formulated as follows: H 1 - There is no growth in Internet Usage, H 2 - There are no increases in Internet revenue, H 3 - There is an increase in Internet operating cost, H 4 - There is a decrease in Internet profit, H 5 - Most ISPs are experiencing accumulated losses. 3. Research Methodology This is an Archival Research, gathering ISPs financial information from digital databases and printed documents, covering from year end 1996 to All registered companies in Thailand including all ISPs must submit their financial reports to the Department of Commercial Registration, Ministry of Commerce every year by May of the following year. All those financial data are digitized and developed into an online database for the Ministry by a business company by the name of Business Online Company Limited. They are also allowed to 20.1

2 commercialize the service to the public on a concession contract with the Ministry. The Author was the Managing Director of this company from its early days of establishment and finalized the contract with the Ministry in Digitizing of the financial raw data of the registered companies and developing the application software Bingo took more than two years, and became available to the public in Target Population Communication Authority of Thailand have issued ISP licenses to eighteen companies up to the day they privatized. The last license was issued in Of the eighteen ISPs, one has ceased operation, some have sold their business and changed names, some have merged with other business and increased their capital making it difficult to identify Internet service, and some have incomplete report or are unsearchable in Bingo, so they will not be included in the research population. The sample size will therefore be the whole population of seventeen ISPs. 5. ISP Financial Information Each ISP is searched in the order it started operation for its financial information by accessing Bingo application of Business Online company limited, from 1996 to The required raw data are collected, arranged, tabulated, graphed, analyzed to transform into information, and the results are interpreted and used to verify the hypotheses. The researched information test the five hypotheses from the research objective. 5.1 Internet Thailand started as THAISARN Internet Services in January 1994,a joint venture between the National Science and Technology Agency, the Telephone Organization of Thailand, and the Communication Authority of Thailand, became Internet Thailand in May 1995 still a government agency not a registered company limited until May 1997, capital 15 million baht. It later in 2001 became a public company limited, capital 345,833,333 baht. Its financial report to the Ministry started in 1997 with 30,000 baht loss. After that it reported significant increase in revenue, cost, and profit. Its accumulated profit in 2004 is 473,505,199 baht Table 5.1 Internet Thailand ,000-30,000-30, ,137, ,572,487 24,563,422 24,533, ,162, ,384,378 52,778,505 77,311, ,983, ,819,257 51,164, ,476, ,583, ,416,776 73,166, ,643, ,566, ,111,335 80,455, ,098, ,385, ,859,808 99,525, ,623, ,153, ,272,420 91,881, ,505,199 Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 13 No.SP3, November,

3 5.2 KSC Commercial Internet the second ISP but was really the first company limited ISP registered 21 st Dec The first ISP joint venture with CAT as free shareholder of 33%, and Internet Knowledge Service Center as the major shareholder, capital 15 million. From the start in 1995, it recorded profit six consecutive years to 2000 amounting to 54,648,655 baht. Then it was sold to MWEB and started losing heavily, and in 2004 its accumulated losses were 104,811,356 baht. Table 5.2 KSC Commercial Internet ,177,008 10,981, , , ,524,790 74,638,018 2,886,771 3,082, ,308, ,979, ,854 3,410, ,734, ,639,051 12,095,341 15,506, ,196, ,817,229 16,379,478 31,885, ,928, ,165,250 22,762,890 54,648, ,510, ,869,991-34,359,757 20,288, ,855, ,919, ,063,202-79,774, ,761, ,499,746 1,261,255-78,513, ,487, ,785,519-26,298, ,811, ANET was registered on the 8 th Dec.1995, joint venture of AR Group, Bangkok Bank, and CAT as free shareholder of 33%, started ISP operation in 1996 with 15 million baht in capital. The first two years registered losses accumulated to 15,051,703 baht. It made profit the next two years approaching near the break-even point, but registered three more years of losses, accumulated to 36,335,132 baht in Both ANET s revenue and operating cost decreased during the last tree years resulted in making profit in the last two years and reduced its accumulated losses to 17,161,546 baht. Table 5.3 ANET ,749-7,749-7, ,158,042 13,341,722-9,183,681-9,191, ,152,265 45,012,538-5,860,273-15,051, ,419,698 51,528,351 4,891,347-10,160, ,213, ,841,564 7,371,718-2,788, ,446, ,401,642-6,955,539-9,744, ,719, ,418,854-17,699,734-27,443, ,793, ,684,287-28,891,001-36,335, ,976, ,085,190 8,891,221-27,443, ,167, ,884,747 10,282,365-17,161,

4 5.4 C.S. Communications was registered on 20 th July 1994 as satellite communication business with 10 million in registered capital, and received ISP license in 1997 with 500 million in registered capital. It is a subsidiary of Shinawat and Communication Group with Shinawat Satellite Public Company the major shareholder with 50.99% and CAT 49%. On 26 th November 2003, it merged with Loxley Information Services and became CS Loxinfo Public Company Limited with 639,569,774 baht registered capital. Internet financial data will be taken from 1997 because prior to that it had not started ISP operation yet. Data from Table 5.4 must be used with caution, because it includes both satellite communication and Internet services. Nevertheless, before the merger and entering the stock market, 1998 was the only year it made a small profit, the rest was huge losses accumulating to the peak of 562,915,145 baht losses. Two years as a Public company, profits were registered reducing its accumulated losses to 156,451,477 baht in Table 5.4 CS Communications/CS Loxinfo ,054, ,156,638-52,101,945-52,101, ,665, ,208,991 7,456,669-44,645, ,938, ,586, ,647, ,293, ,078, ,802,433-71,723, ,017, ,672, ,904, ,231, ,248, ,200, ,866, ,666, ,915, ,205, ,981,687 78,223, ,691, ,339,701,275 1,001,461, ,240, ,451, Info Access/Jasmine was registered on 29 th January 1996 with Wattajak the major shareholder and CAT free share of 33%, capital 15 million baht. In exchange for the ISP license, it signed a contract to comply with CAT s term for 10 years on 14 th March It recorded five years of losses totaling 52,691,530 baht, then was sold to Jasmine International Public Company in 2000, and changed name to Jasmine Internet. After the change of management, losses decreased significantly and finally turned to profits and increasing, lowering the accumulated losses to 15,475,433 in Table 5.5 Info Access/Jasmine Internet ,034,430 10,475,730-7,441,290-7,441, ,295,060 24,372,310-13,077,450-20,518, ,230,790 25,714,510-7,483,720-28,002, ,232,230 39,188,090-9,955,860-37,958, ,961,140 94,694,350-14,733,210-52,691, ,300, ,561,110-1,260,120-53,951, ,223, ,242, ,620-52,971, ,246, ,008,260 13,238,270-39,732, ,933, ,675,897 24,257,327-15,475,433 Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 13 No.SP3, November,

5 5.6 Loxley Information Services registered on 19 th February 1996 with Loxley Public Company as major shareholder, CAT with 32%freeshares of the capital 15 million. It started with very high operating costs, recorded profit in the third year 1998, but after that suffered huge amount of continuous losses accumulated to a record of more than 329 million in 2002, far beyond its registered capital. The situation was rectified with two years of profits reducing its losses to 168 million. Table 5.6 Loxley Information Services ,022,315 76,211,321-10,189,006-10,189, ,656, ,626,373-44,969,760-55,158, ,314, ,072,700 7,242,031-47,916, ,617, ,136,844-15,519,465-63,436, ,983, ,789, ,805, ,241, ,338, ,778, ,439, ,681, ,254, ,829,625-13,574, ,256, ,884, ,175, ,708, ,547, ,998, ,659,952 49,339, ,208, Asia Infonet/True Internet registered on 7 th March 1996 with CP Group as major shareholder, CAT 32% free shares totaling 15 million in capital. Operated with losses for three years normally, accumulated loss to almost 89 million. Then it recovered and made profit steadily every year ended 2004 with 37.5 million accumulated profit. Its name has changed to True Internet. Table 5.7 Asia Infonet/True Internet ,045 3,491,108-2,980,063-2,980, ,032,145 70,202,327-56,170,182-59,150, ,115,939 82,899,416-29,783,477-88,933, ,461, ,035,084 8,426,071-80,507, ,364, ,316,455 16,047,665-64,459, ,106, ,764,607 30,341,957-34,118, ,479, ,944,705 32,534,617-1,583, ,366, ,991,370 35,374,865 33,791, ,057, ,346,210 3,711,186 37,502, Asia Access/IEC Internet registered on 12 th March 1996 as INET (Thailand) Co. Ltd. with M Group as major shareholder and CAT free share 32% of 15 million capital. Operated normally with first three years of losses accumulated to 55.5 million. Started making profit in 1999 to 2000, but then plunged back to continuous losses accumulated to 89 million. Its name was changed to IEC Internet. 20.5

6 Table 5.8 Asia Access/INET(Thailand)/IEC Internet ,157,977 22,420,178-16,262,201-16,262, ,548,522 50,900,682-31,352,160-47,614, ,732,316 37,573,020-7,840,704-55,455, ,631,342 35,393,596 4,237,746-51,217, ,330,225 44,248,224 4,082,001-47,135, ,044,078 50,352,272-24,308,194-71,443, ,481,607 36,952,266-14,470,659-85,914, ,597,167 42,647,668-3,050,501-88,964, ,384,241 47,808,736-13,424, ,389, Samart Infonet registered on 5 th March 1996 with Samart Corporation as major shareholder and CAT free shares 32% with capital 15 million. It operated in the red zone consistently, accumulated huge losses to million far beyond its registered capital. Table 5.9 Samart Infonet ,343,281 24,446,484-22,103,202-22,103, ,965,332 68,030,810-39,065,478-61,168, ,834,179 85,005,152-29,170,983-90,339, ,150, ,828,803-33,678, ,018, ,945, ,290,920-12,345, ,363, ,318, ,910,752-52,592, ,956, ,960, ,175,640-47,215, ,171, ,844, ,682,745-23,838, ,009, ,038, ,697,671-21,658, ,668, World Net and Services registered on 10 April 1996 with UCOM major shareholder and CAT 32% free shares totaling 15 million in capital. Started with loss first year but revenue jumped unrealistically to million resulting in profit in 1998 (incorrect information is being checked). Otherwise, it is registering huge losses every year except 2004, accumulating losses to million. Pacific Internet (Thailand) bought the shares from UCOM and is presently the major shareholder. Table 5.10 World Net & Services ,254,641 42,853,130-32,598,489-32,598, ,631,668 47,197,422 62,434,246 29,835, ,363, ,614,392-92,250,553-62,414, ,363, ,614,392-92,250, ,665, ,473, ,065,420-76,591, ,256, ,155, ,726,519-26,571, ,828, ,088, ,263,770-6,175, ,003, ,083, ,461,777 18,621, ,382,397 Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 13 No.SP3, November,

7 5.11 Data Line Thai registered on 13 th May 1996 with Datamat as major shareholder and CAT free share 32% totaling 15 million in capital. Operated as a small ISP registered small losses every year until 2003 accumulated to 59.7 million. In 2004, its operating cost dropped by 75%(unrealistic) resulting in a huge profit of 45.5 million, thus reducing the accumulated losses to 14 million. Datamat sold all its shares, and now has Shin Corporation as the major shareholder. Table 5.11 Data Line Thai ,785 2,951,552-2,884,767-2,884, ,267,264 8,134,799-6,867,535-9,752, ,714,120 6,554,885-2,840,765-12,593, ,130,369 7,847,102-2,716,733-15,309, ,813,649 9,005, ,016-15,501, ,423,524 38,248,431-20,824,907-36,326, ,823,009 56,388,002-16,564,993-52,891, ,255,087 21,020,844-6,765,757-59,657, ,372,260 5,830,144 45,542,116-14,115, Idea Net registered on 2 nd September 1996 with Idea Corporation the major shareholder and CAT 32% free shares, capital 15 million. Operated as a small scale ISP mostly in the red, accumulated 74.5 million in losses. Table 5.12 Idea Net ,286,390 14,018,039-10,731,649-10,731, ,109,668 8,215, ,867-9,837, ,003,452 10,684,021-2,680,569-12,518, ,866,867 16,917,709-13,050,842-25,569, ,076,400 30,156,360-22,079,960-47,649, ,737,577 27,672,873-13,935,296-61,584, ,402,502 22,801,686-4,399,184-65,983, ,546,176 25,021,151-8,474,975-74,458, Siam Global Access/Internet Service Provider registered on 13 September 1996 with Siam TV as major shareholder and CAT free shares 32% capital 15 million. Operated as a medium scale ISP, recorded losses in the first two years, then made profit for two years almost reaching break-even point in After that suffered losses continuously and accumulated 89.7 million in losses. It changed major shareholder to Wongwatanasin family and renamed as Internet Service Provider. Table 5.13 Siam Global Access/Internet Service Provider ,127 1,014, , , ,002,616 15,557,553-3,534,937-4,312, ,010,941 26,333,166 2,677,775-1,634,

8 ,728,303 40,396,034 1,332, , ,878,029 39,983,239-5,105,210-5,407, ,873,787 50,598,647-11,724,860-17,132, ,399,420 64,628,596-24,229,176-41,361, ,093, ,884,433-20,790,906-62,152, ,736, ,236,641-27,499,884-89,652, Chomanan Worldnet registered on 9 th November 1995 with Chomanan Group family business as major shareholder and CAT free shares 32% total capital 15 million. Did not have any activity for two years, then in 1997, operated with a very low profile as a small scale ISP, registering losses every year until 2001,accumulated to 33.2 million. Table 5.14 Chomanan Worldnet ,400-9,400-9, ,000-14,000-23, ,399 1,066, , , ,681,373 8,743,976-7,062,603-7,546, ,522,414 12,324,079-8,801,665-16,347, ,266,060 9,967,436-8,701,376-25,049, ,677 8,776,307-8,177,630-33,226, Far East Internet registered on 19 November 1996 with Inter Far East Engineering (Public) company as major shareholder and CAT free shares 32% of capital 15 million. It operated a small scale ISP totally in the red zone, accumulated loss to 27.3 million in Table 5.15 Far East Internet ,626-1,626-1, ,175,034 3,538,129-2,363,095-2,364, ,525,172 9,102,939-1,577,767-3,942, ,841,137 9,492,830-1,651,693-5,594, ,337,523 14,787,122-4,449,599-10,043, ,552,746 10,439,747-2,887,001-12,930, ,768,616 7,059,522-4,290,906-17,221, ,632,940 9,705,781-6,072,841-23,294, ,739,140 10,842,315-4,048,425-27,342, E-Z Net registered on 15 February 1999 with the Indian family Naruela as major shareholder and CAT free share 32% capital 15 million. Operated as a family business tiny scale ISP, always in the red zone, accumulate 27.3 million losses in 2002, then no more financial report was available. Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 13 No.SP3, November,

9 Table 5.16 E-Z Net ,000 9,030,486-8,930,486-8,930, ,551,403 9,798,001-7,246,598-16,177, ,336,221 9,636,413-7,300,192-23,477, ,652 4,488,128-3,840,476-27,317, Pacific Internet registered on 25 January 1999 a joint venture of Singapore and Thai business with no record of CAT 6. Financial Analyses being a shareholder, capital 188,176,100 baht in capital. It accumulated losses most of the time, accumulated to million. Table 5.17 Pacific Internet (Thailand) ,549,790 23,596,600 2,953,190 2,953, ,126, ,071,864-94,945,609-91,992, ,823, ,770,507-83,946, ,939, ,763,431 53,382,282-36,618, ,558, ,688,820 34,513,970-8,825, ,383, ,645,420 34,876,805 11,768, ,614,550 There are several variables that can be used as indicator of Internet growth, e.g. Internet Users, Internet Revenue, Internet Domains, and both Internet International and Domestic Telecommunication Links used in Thailand. 6.1 Internet Users When dial-up Internet access was established in 1992, only 200 were registered When true Internet gateways were setup it grew rapidly, to 8000 then users in two years. In 1995, when the two first commercial ISP started their operation, it almost doubled to The following four years, Internet users tripled each year, resulted from the entry of sixteen more ISPs, to 1.5 million users in No more ISP license was granted which coincided with a diminishing increase rate to 6.97 million users (16% increases) in There is definitely growth in Internet usage, H 1 is not true and is rejected. Table 6.1 Internet Users (M) % 187% 96% 55% 214% 205% 124% 53% 52% 37% 25% 16% 6.2 Internet International Telecommunication Links have been the main part of the operation cost for all ISPs, approximately half. It is the most important of ISP operation because it determines the quality of Internet service, and must increase with the number of customer. Table 6.2 shows that it has been increasing all the time to 2,398 Mbps in There is definitely growth in Internet usage, H 1 is not true and is rejected. But the percent increase has been greater than the increase of Internet users in Table 6.1 which can result in higher cost than revenue. Table 6.2 Int. Links (Mbps) % 215% 14% 219% 127% 139% 57% 42% 67% 20.9

10 6.3 Internet Revenue have been increasing every year, but with a diminishing rate. The last two years recorded positive rate to 5,253 million baht. There is definitely increase in Internet revenue, H 2 is not true and is rejected. Table 6.3 Revenue (millions) % 189% 138% 49% 53% 20% 10% 25% 28% 6.4 Internet Operating Cost have been increasing every year with some fluctuations, and recorded positive rate the last three years to 4,763 million baht in H 3 is true and accepted. Table 6.4 Operating Cost (millions) % 232% 40% 75% 55% 22% 4% 7% 22% 6.5 Internet Profit/Loss Table 6.5 shows the net profit in row two and accumulated profit in row three. With the exception of 1998, 2003, and 2004, the ISP sector was doing badly. The accumulated losses increased alarmingly all seven years of operation to 11,855 million baht in The last two years showed very promising trend with significant profits, reducing the accumulated losses to 1,107 million baht. H 4 is true and accepted. Table 6.5 Profit/Loss (millions) Summary 7.1 Individual ISP Performances ISP Financial Information of the seventeen ISPs indicate alarming results which confirm that most ISPs are experiencing accumulated losses and H 5 is accepted. (a) Internet Thailand is an ISP with some special privileges, because it was a government agency from start, and all shareholders paid their own share including CAT. It started with a very tiny loss (30,000 baht), which was a bit unrealistic for a new star-up business, then recorded huge profits every year, accumulated profits to million. It is the only one of eighteen ISP making huge profits with stability. (b) KSC the pioneer company limited ISP to joint venture with CAT (32% free shares of 15 million) was even more unrealistic, made profit from the first year of operation and continued for six years then suffered significant losses and ended with a sizable accumulated loss. (c) ANET operated normally, started making profit the fourth and fifth year approaching the break-even point, then three years of huge losses, after that recovered with two years of profit. It is still in the reds. (d) C.S. Communications started as an ISP in 1997 a little bit different from other Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 13 No.SP3, November,

11 ISPs, not a joint venture with CAT and a registered capital of 300 million. Its financial information is unclear how much belonged to Internet services, because it is also a telecommunication service provider. Nevertheless, both losses and profits was recorded in huge numbers, recovering towards 2004 still in the red area of nine digits. (e) Info Access finances was fluctuating during its first six years of operation between high losses and low losses accumulating to almost 54 million. Jasmine International Public Company bought the company and changed name to Jasmine Internet, and last three years made profits reducing its accumulated losses. (f) Loxley Information Services suffered losses almost every year accumulated to more than 329 million, but reduced that in the last two years to 168 million in red. (g) Asia Infonet operated normally with losses the first three years and thereafter made steady profits accumulated to 37.5 million. Changed its name to True Internet. (h) Asia Access operated normally with losses the first three years, thereafter made two years of profits, then continuous losses accumulated to million, never left the red zone. The name was changed to IEC Internet. (i) Samart Infonet operated steadily and consistently in the red zone every year, accumulated huge losses to million. (j) World Net and Services accumulated huge losses to million. (k) Data Line Thai operated as a small scale ISP, made small losses yearly, accumulated to 59.7 million in 2003, but strangely reduced to 14 million in (l) Idea Net one of the small scale operator recorded losses every year except one, accumulated 74.5 million in losses. (m) Siam Global Access a medium scale ISP operated to almost break-even point in four years then suffered continuous losses to 89.7 million. It later changed management and renamed Internet Service Provider. (n) Chomanan Worldnet a small scale operator, accumulated losses 33.2 million. (o) Far East Internet a small scale operator, accumulated losses 27.3 million. (p) E-Z Net a tiny scale ISP family operation, accumulated losses 27.3 million. (q) Pacific Internet accumulated losses million. 7.2 There is growth in Internet usage H 1 is rejected. 7.3 There is increase in Internet revenue H 2 is rejected. 7.4 There is increase in Internet operating costs H 3 is accepted. 7.5 There is decrease in Internet profits H 4 is accepted. References 1. NECTEC, Internet User Profile of Thailand, Survey Report, NECTEC, Thailand ICT Indicators 2005, Survey Report, Feb Srisakdi Charmonman and Prasart Sribhadung (1999), Internet Industry in Thailand 1999, Country Report, 1 st International Asia - Pacific Telecommunication Forum, ETRI, Taejon, Korea, th October. 4. BINGO Service, Business Online Public Company Limited, Online Information Zakon, Robert Hobbes, Hobbes Internet Timeline v8.0, The Zakon Group LLC,

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