Saturday, January 05, 2008

AoT softens its stand against King Power


AoT softens its stand against King Power


The Airports of Thailand (AoT) will work out a compromise with the King Power International Group whose duty-free outlets are facing eviction from Suvarnabhumi airport over the alleged lack of contract transparency. AoT president Chana U-sathaporn said the AoT yesterday consulted a prosecutor representing the AoT on legal matters following the Administrative Court's ruling on Dec 28 that the case against King Power should be heard in the Civil Court because it involves civil offences.

The court said the AoT and King Power, which is seeking court protection against eviction by the AoT, should hold talks for an out-of-court settlement to their dispute and inform the judge of the outcome of talks at the end of the month.

AM Chana said a compromise would be worked out pertaining to the use of commercial areas at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Under a new deal, it is highly likely the AoT would gain the right to be informed of the revenue earned by King Power from operating the duty-free shops and commercial areas at the airport during the previous two years, said the AoT president. The revenue in question is believed to be about 6-7 billion baht.

King Power had earlier filed a civil suit in retaliation for the AoT's decision to terminate the contracts to run the duty-free shops and commercial areas at Suvarnabhumi airport. It claimed to have suffered damages of 68 billion baht.

AM Chana said he would inform the AoT board about the outcome of talks during its special meeting in Chiang Rai tomorrow.

It would also notify the board about a call by King Power that permanent AoT key cards be issued to its staff for entry to the passenger terminal. King Power staff have so far been issued only temporary entry cards.

The firm also wants assurances that it could continue decorating shops in the commercial areas, which it had rented from the AoT.

The King Power contracts ran into problems early last year after the board accused the firm of violating the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.

The company allegedly kept the amount of investment in its two commercial development contracts at Suvarnabhumi airport under one billion baht to avoid scrutiny by relevant state agencies.

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