The doctor-turned-businessman is estimated to be worth
Just one and a half years after listing on the Stock Exchange of
Dr Somyos and his wife Jareeporn founded WHA in 2003 and took it public in 2012 to mobilise funds. WHA recently sold some assets to an affiliated property fund,
Dr Somyos, 54, obtained his medical degree from
"My family told me that our warehouse business was not very successful. Then I thought perhaps we should change the old way of building warehouses and make them more efficient and competitive both for ourselves and our clients," he says.
He took three to four years to find a new business model. Finally, he found one: instead of just providing an already built warehouse to lease to customers, the company would design and develop built-to-suit warehouses. This means his company would construct the building to the client's exact specifications.
WHA would look for a good location, offer construction modules to fit customer needs and provide infrastructures at a reasonable price. The arrangement seemed to resonate with potential clients, mostly factories.
They could see their logistics cost falling in the long-term, with the advantage of having a customised warehouse built up to world-class standard and in modern design, Dr Somyos explains.
His first built-to-suit warehouse client was
WHA's list of clients soon grew and now includes
With the concept already a success, the company went on to develop a warehouse farm project in
In late 2012, the company set up its WHAPF property fund. Its offering of a higher return than the market with high quality assets attracted many institutional investors. The fund also gained support from the WHA's warehouse leasing business, given the strong interest of many industrialists wanting to have their Asean production bases in
Dr Somyos sets his goal for WHA to be the region's No.1 provider of warehouse, factory and distribution centre design and construction within the next five years. Last year, the company had a pre-leased backlog of 500,000 sq m of space.
The company claims it offers the best value in building technology. Its cement formulation, for instance, maximises cement strength and cost-efficiency per square metre.
WHA also focuses on green initiatives that reduce clients' energy consumption. Its warehouse ventilation system cut indoor temperature by 3-4 degrees without air conditioning. It plans to use more than 1 million sq m of its roof area to generate about 100 megawatts of solar electricity.
In line with the government's initiatives to promote renewable energy, WHA hopes to increase its solar energy capacity alongside the yearly expansion of its warehouse area.
It works jointly with
"I'm thinking about a triple-forward step. When we build a warehouse, we use strong concrete and prepare for a solar roof installation. When we sign a contract with client, we let them lease only the space inside the building and ground floor, so we have space for solar roof. The client is happy with the lower temperature and energy cost," says Dr Somyos.
WHA also leverages its success to help partners and clients establish themselves in the region.
"Many of our clients often ask us to accompany them into
WHA welcomes investors to invest in its
However, it is not all work for him and he leads a healthy lifestyle. Dr Somyos goes jogging, plays tennis and loves to listen to music. He likes fruit and vegetables, does not smoke and avoids alcohol.
"Life should be a balance between work and play. I don't want to work too much. But when I work, I'm serious," he says.
(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
Visit the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) at www.bangkokpost.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services