Thoresen Thai Agencies is best known among the Thai populace for its 185 Pizza Hut and 25 Taco Bell fast-food outlets, but its 2023 full-year results show it was bulkers and offshore support vessels that delivered the goods to the Bangkok-listed company’s shareholders.

Thoresen Shipping, TTA’s wholly owned dry bulk arm, delivered a net profit of THB 1.53bn ($42.5m) on revenue of about THB 7.37bn.

The company’s majority shareholding in separately listed OSV operator Mermaid Maritime brought in additional net profit THB 199.9m.

Mermaid made an overall net profit of THB 345.9bn on revenue of about THB 9.63bn, a 919% increase year on year.

These two business segments accounted for 71% of TTA’s THB 23.97bn overall revenue earned in 2023.

The popular Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants brought in only 8% of that figure.

When the results of TTA’s other business activities ranging from fertiliser to freshwater production were factored in, the company earned an overall net profit of THB 1.21bn.

Shipping highlights

TTA said that even though Thoresen Shipping’s freight revenues decreased 47% year on year due to the substantial decline in freight rates from the remarkable levels in 2022, its fleet of supramax bulkers still outperformed the net supramax time charter equivalent rate by 27% while operating costs were 16% lower than the industry average.

Thoresen Shipping owns a fleet of 22 supramaxes and two ultramaxes that had an average age of 15.7 years at the end of December 2023.

Highlights mentioned for Thoresen Shipping in 2023 included securing a three-year contract to supply coated-steel pipeline transport services for crude oil projects in East Africa, the continuation of contracts with clients in New Zealand for timber transport, and increased demand for cement transportation services in the North Atlantic.

Thoresen Thai Agencies chief executive Chalermchai Mahagitsiri. Photo: Thoresen Thai Agencies

“Thoresen Shipping remains profitable. Another aspect of pride is its ability to earn the trust and confidence of customers worldwide, despite being a Thai company with predominantly Thai personnel,” TTA chief executive Chalermchai Mahagitsiri said.

Meanwhile, Mermaid ended 2023 with a record-high orderbook of $734.2m. Revenue during the year, which increased by 22% overall, grew in most offshore service segments, although TTA noted the highest growth was in the subsea inspection and maintenance sector, which increased by 45%. The company’s subsea fleet recorded a utilisation rate of 91%.

Revenues from Mermaid’s decommissioning, transport and installation business also increased 28% year on year due to the service expansion in Thailand and South East Asia.

Commenting on Mermaid’s performance, Mahagitsiri described the company as achieving “unprecedented levels of performance”.

“In 2023, Mermaid experienced income growth across all service functions, primarily attributed to expanding both the income and client bases into other regions. In addition, Mermaid has secured multiple offshore contracts spanning various regions including Thailand, the Middle East, South Africa, Western Sahara and the UK. These contracts total nearly $500 million,” he said.

Mermaid Maritime’s 2019-built dive support vessel Van Gogh. Photo: Thoresen Thai Agencies

Mahagitsiri said Mermaid is actively expanding its comprehensive subsea and offshore services in Vietnam with the establishment of Tan Cang Mermaid Subsea Services, as well as throughout South East Asia.

The chief executive did not provide any guidance on TTA’s outlook for 2024.