The 2014 All-Asia Research Team: Thailand, No. 2: Supavud Saicheua, Therapong Vachirapong & team
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The 2014 All-Asia Research Team: Thailand, No. 2: Supavud Saicheua, Therapong Vachirapong & team

Supavud Saicheua, Therapong Vachirapong & team

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

First-place appearances: 2

Total appearances: 16

Team debut: 1994

Slipping to second place is Bank of America Merrill Lynch, whose Bangkok-based crew of 12 is now co-captained by Supavud Saicheua and newcomer Therapong Vachirapong. Ian Gisbourne, a veteran researcher who last year served as Saicheua’s co-head and had led several firms’ teams to appearances on this lineup, decamped for U.K. investment advisory firm Senhouse Asia in 2013. BofA Merrill has over the past 12 months added four junior analysts to this squad, to beef up coverage of mid- and small-cap stocks. All told, they report on 70 Thai companies and expect to add an additional ten by year’s end. “We depend on them for quality insights into the political-economic dynamics,” one buy-side fan pronounces. In September the researchers restated their buy rating on Supalai, dubbing the Bangkok-based residential property developer a top pick. They saw it as a strong defensive play in a time of political uncertainty, given Supalai’s revenue visibility, healthy balance sheet and solid growth. By late April the shares had soared 35.7 percent, to 19.40 baht, outperforming Thailand’s broad market by 30.4 percentage points. The analysts foresee significant further upside, maintaining a target of 23.80 baht. “They never mind going the extra mile to help investors,” declares another portfolio manager.

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