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DUSIT further bolsters its food business in Thailand as OR acquires a 25% stake in Dusit Foods

Dusit Thani Public Company Limited (DUSIT), one of Thailand’s leading hotel and property development companies, and PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company Limited (OR) by Modulus Venture, a wholly owned subsidiary of OR, a leading oil and retail company, have inked an agreement for OR to acquire a 25% stake in DUSIT’s food business subsidiary, Dusit Foods, as part of a joint vision to deliver a new growth engine that contributes to Thailand’s economic rise by fostering development of the food industry. To achieve this, DUSIT aims to combine its strengths in upstream, midstream, and downstream food businesses with OR’s expertise in operating leading retail distribution channels – including almost 2,500 PTT Stations and over 4,000 Café Amazon outlets – to reach multiple lifestyle segments, help local food businesses expand domestically and internationally, and deliver sustainable value across the entire supply chain, both inside and outside of Thailand. The investment agreement was officially signed at a special ceremony held recently at Baan Dusit Thani in Bangkok, where Ms Suphajee Suthumpun, Group CEO, DUSIT; Ms La-ead Kovavisaruch, Chief Investment Officer, DUSIT; Ms Jiraphon Kawswat, President and CEO, OR; and Mr Somyot Kongprawet, Senior Executive Vice President, Lifestyle Business, OR, were all on hand to mark the occasion. “We are delighted and honoured to join hands with OR for this exciting, synergistic alliance that will leverage OR’s robust retail platform and retail expertise and our own extensive knowledge in upstream, midstream, and downstream food businesses to meet the needs of multiple lifestyle segments in Thailand and abroad,” said Ms Suthumpun. “At the same time, our companies both share the same clear vision to deliver a new growth engine that fosters growth of the food industry in Thailand and ultimately contributes to the country's economic development. This includes working together with OR to create a new food platform that gives local businesses opportunities for domestic and international expansion, including extending their growth and revenue-generating prospects by working with OR as well as other thriving non-oil retail entities that OR has invested in previously, namely Café Amazon and the Ohkajhu health food brand. This shared vision makes our alliance even more powerful.” Ms Suthumpun explained that, as part of its vision ‘to bring Asia to the world,’ Dusit Foods itself prioritises investing in food businesses that place importance on natural, organic, and good-for-health processes while also supporting local communities. “As part of our company’s three-pronged strategy for balance, expansion, and diversification, we have invested in food businesses that are not only related to our core hotel business, but which also have high growth potential and cover the total supply chain. We expect all these food businesses to flourish under our alliance with OR, plus further opportunities to expand domestically and internationally.” Dusit Foods' investment portfolio currently includes Epicure Catering Co., Ltd., a leading provider of food and beverage services to the international school industry with a market share of over 70% in Thailand; The Caterers Joint Stock Company Limited, or ‘The Caterers,’ a leader in school catering and off-site receptions in Vietnam; and KAUAI, a popular healthy fast-casual restaurant chain from South Africa, which Dusit Foods brought to the Thai market and plans to expand across Asia. Most recently, Dusit Foods concluded an agreement to acquire a 55% stake in Bonjour Bakery Asia Co., Ltd., which operates a state-of-the-art baking factory producing French-style pastry products in the Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate, Rayong Province, and its associated bakery franchise business, comprising more than 50 branches across Thailand and one in China. Speaking on behalf of OR at the signing ceremony, Ms Kawswat said that OR’s past, present, and future are fully embodied in its new vision, ‘Empowering All Toward Inclusive Growth.’ This vision includes identifying opportunities for inclusive growth and focusing on collaborations that strengthen businesses and help them to fulfil their potential. Ms Kawswat added that OR’s ultimate goal is to reach inclusive growth and success in all dimensions amidst the uncertain global economic environment. “Our alliance with DUSIT through Dusit Foods will enhance the potential of OR's lifestyle business, especially the food segment, which will benefit the outlets owned by OR and those we have co-invested in,” said Ms Kawswat. “One of OR’s missions is to create an alternative food business model that facilitates convenience and comprehensively meets all the lifestyle preferences of multigenerational consumers. Following our focus on Outside-In growth, which includes seeking investment opportunities with partners in new markets, this new model will also allow us to flourish with other Thai brands, locally and internationally.” Ms Kawswat said that DUSIT’s business strategy aligns with OR’s goal for economic prosperity that aims to drive growth, offer career opportunities, and distribute wealth to partners and MSMEs by working directly with them. “In expanding its business internationally, Dusit Foods aims to introduce ‘Thainess’ to the global arena, bringing benefits to both upstream and downstream food supply chains, as well as local communities, and we see huge potential for growth in this area,” said Ms Kawswat. “OR is now ready for businesses of all types and sizes to enter the OR ecosystem, and we’re primed to transform into an Inclusive Growth Platform that combines business models and innovation to address problems faced by people, society, and the environment to have a positive, meaningful impact overall.”

The Stage is set for the Season Finale at the 2022 HANA BANK SEOUL E-PRIX

Season 8 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will climax in South Korea this weekend with the 2022 Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix where the champion driver and team will be crowned and the world’s first all-electric motorsport series will mark 100 races. Eleven teams and 22 drivers have competed in Formula E’s biggest racing season to date with Rounds 15 and 16 to come this Saturday and Sunday and four drivers still in contention for the title at the top of the standings. It will be the first time Formula E has raced in South Korea with the E-Prix taking place on a unique track constructed around and even looping through the Jamsil Olympic Stadium, the first world championship sporting event held at the venue since the Olympic Games in 1988. Stoffel Vandoorne leads the way for Mercedes-EQ in a bid to make it back-to-back wins following their Drivers' and Teams' World Championship success last year in Season 7. The Belgian extended his lead to 36 points over nearest rival Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) during the SABIC London E-Prix two weeks ago that saw his closest competitors falter. Consistency is critical in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. While Vandoorne has achieved only one win this season compared to three each for Evans and Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) in third place, Vandoorne has the most podium finishes and has scored on 13 occasions this season, taking the honour from Daniel Abt as the most consistent points finisher in a campaign. Vandoorne’s last four rounds have all yielded top four finishes and a pair of podiums: the gauntlet has been thrown by the Mercedes-EQ driver. In his fourth campaign, Vandoorne has been around the series long enough to know that securing his first World Championship title is far from a sure thing in Seoul, where race strategy will be affected by high humidity and record-breaking levels of rainfall this week that will demand outstanding planning and driving execution. Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) had worked his way into closest contention of top spot but a crushing technical problem in London put a huge dent in his chances. The Kiwi was on track to pin Vandoorne back to a 22-point lead, some 14 fewer than his current advantage but an inverter problem at the end of Round 14 saw him out of fourth and into retirement despite front-running pace. But opportunity remains for Evans. He has dominated entire race weekends before, most notably in Rome this season, but the stakes are much higher this time around and Vandoorne only has to outdo the Jaguar driver in Round 15 for the battle to be over. In third and fourth respectively, Edoardo Mortara and DS TECHEETAH's Jean-Éric Vergne have it all to do. Mortara topped the standings at the halfway stage of the season after a run of two wins and two more podiums in Berlin and Jakarta. Since then, the Swiss has only managed two low-scoring points finishes in New York City and a pair of non-scores in London, but he remains just five points back from Evans. Similarly, Vergne has hit his worst-ever run in Formula E, with four consecutive blanks for the very first time in the championship. While it’s an uncharacteristic return from the Frenchman, JEV is the only driver in the top four to have won the World Championship – twice – and experience could still earn a place on the podium. - The Teams' battle Mercedes-EQ stretched its lead in London with silverware for both de Vries and Vandoorne. Back-to-back titles look to be on with a 36-point margin on ROKiT Venturi Racing in second, with DS TECHEETAH behind the Monegasque outfit by 11 points. - Landmarks await On Sunday, the second race of the 2022 Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix double-header will be Formula E’s 100th E-Prix. The race is also the end of the Gen2 era, the second version of Formula E race car. As such, the centenary E-Prix will appropriately mark three huge generational leaps in EV technology and industry-leading sustainability achievements ahead of the debut in Season 9 of the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built – the Gen3. - The 1,000 club As the only driver set to line up on the grid this weekend and race in all 100 E-Prix, Lucas di Grassi (ROKiT Venturi Racing) is also chasing a landmark 1,000 points. The Brazilian has been an intrinsic part of Formula E from day zero and is set to become the only driver to have entered every E-Prix to-date following Sam Bird’s (Jaguar TCS Racing) unfortunate withdrawal through injury as the only other ever-present driver to date. Topping off his Season 8 with 1,000 points, following a maiden win for ROKiT Venturi in London which saw him reach 996 in his Formula E career so far, it would be some way to celebrate. Lucas has eyes on that prize but the goal for Seoul is to go out and seal championship silverware for Venturi. "I'm very proud of to be able to be competitive for eight years now, in a championship which is super competitive," said di Grassi. "The level of the teams that drive versus us is just insanely good. But we go to Seoul with our main target being the Teams' World Championship, for ROKiT Venturi Racing to be number one. "The task is hard, but it's mathematically feasible. So until it's unfeasible, we're going to work very hard. We know how things are in Formula E, everything can happen. So we're going to be on top of it and try to get this World Championship title for the team." - An all-new challenge The newest circuit on the Formula E calendar is at Seoul's Olympic Park. The lap starts with a tight, technical run before entering the Jamsil Olympic stadium where the 22 racers will put on a show for thousands of fans in the stadium seats. As they leave the stadium a batch of sweeping turns leading to long straights connected by 90-degree turns follows as the circuit wraps around the Olympic park and the drivers jostle for position around this fast 2.6km, 22-turn circuit. Seoul also brings more high temperatures for the teams to manage. EV battery systems and powertrains are at their most efficient and performant inside a specific temperature window. Managing raw, outright pace with efficiency and high ambient temperatures will be a weekend-long battle for drivers and engineers. There will be plenty of thinking and thousands of kilometres worth of simulator data put into play to ensure ATTACK MODEs, FANBOOST and race strategy are on-point by the first race on Saturday. It will all be hypothetical for the engineers until they can get out on track in Free Practice to corroborate the maths and sim work they have put in since London. In addition, the new track surface will evolve rapidly. What might be true on Saturday morning might be completely different by the afternoon, and certainly by Sunday. Add to that the complications from expected downpours and high humidity. Whoever triumphs in Seoul will have more than earned their silverware in the most dramatic ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season to date. Don't miss a minute of Season 8. Keep track of the best ways to tune in where you are at

Presenting the Official Poster for the 27th Busan International Film Festival

The 27th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which will be held from Oct 5 (Wed) to Oct 14 (Fri), has unveiled its official film festival and market posters. - "BIFF, Again" Back in Full Swing After Three Years The recently unveiled official poster for the 27th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), portraying a figure staring at the ocean under a clear sky, is generating much anticipation. Signifying the reunion between the audience and BIFF, also known as the ocean of cinema, this image vividly portrays the excitement of the festival, which is being normalized after three years of pandemic. The individual gazing at the logo of the Busan International Film Festival symbolizes not only the audience, but all movie lovers, including festival guests and industry officials, and adds special meaning to the poster. This year’s BIFF will amuse the audience and revitalize the film industry by reopening various sections and supporting projects that were put on hold due to COVID-19, such as Midnight Passion, the Asian Cinema Fund, Platform BUSAN, Forum BIFF, and the Asian Film Academy, which has recently returned with a CHANEL X BIFF collaboration. In line with the message of the poster, the festival is expected to bring back a vibrant energy and connection to both the audience and filmmakers. Furthermore, BIFF will strictly comply with safety guidelines, as the spread of COVID-19 is still ongoing. At the same time, the festival will put forth its best efforts to normalize the festival so that it can be enjoyed by the attendees in a safe manner. The 17th Asian Contents & Film Market (ACFM) poster has also been released to the public as well. ACFM 2022, which will be hosted on-site in full capacity for the first time in three years, will introduce Busan Story Market, the world's first IP sales market, which has garnered significant interest from domestic and foreign content officials. The official poster of the 27th BIFF was designed by Choi Soon-dae, president of the Busan Ensemble of Contemporary Visual Design, and the art director of the Busan International Film Festival since its second edition. The 27th Busan International Film Festival, which is already attracting much attention after unveiling this year’s official posters, will be held for ten days from Oct 5 (Wed) to Oct 14 (Fri) at the Busan Cinema Center. ■ The 27th Busan International Film Festival : Oct 5 (Wed) – Oct 14 (Fri) ■ The 17th Asian Contents & Film Market : Oct 8 (Sat) – Oct 11 (Tue)