BAN PHU NAMRON, KANCHANABURI : The SET-listed Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) is willing to forge joint ventures for various aspects of the Dawei megaproject in Myanmar.
Construction work is in progress in Ban Phu Namron in Kanchanaburi to improve links between Thailand and Myanmar for the Dawei project.
These include port facilities, power plants, roads, railways, water supply, industrial estates, telecommunications and townships at the deep-sea port and industrial zone.
"Having a majority share in the joint venture firms is not compulsory," said Anan Amarapala, the vice-president of ITD's marine division.
"Through our affiliate Dawei Development Corporation, the developer of the project, we would probably take only 3-5 % in each investment firm."
The project took a new twist last week when the Thai government made it clear it could not spend taxpayers' money for private gains in Dawei.
Investments in the project should be handled by state enterprises or the private sector, with the government coordinating, said PM's Office Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan.
Eight joint ventures will be established soon to operate roads, rail, water, power, industrial estates, a port, telecommunications and relocating residents of the community of Dawei.
"Many companies from Thailand, Japan, South Korea, China and Europe have shown interest in investing in the project, and we expect to finalise the plan to set up each investment firm soon," said Mr Anan without giving more details.
ITD has already started construction of a 155-kilometre four-lane road from Ban Phu Namron on the Thai-Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi province to Dawei with an investment of US$1 billion, part of the project's first phase costing $8.5 billion.
The first phase, which includes a port, roads, utilities, logistics, power plants and an industrial estate, is scheduled for completion in 2014.
ITD project manager Anusorn Makorncan said the company still needs help from Myanmar's government to settle a relocation dispute with the Dawei community and negotiate with Karen people for land expropriation, as some parts of the road development are in Karen areas.
In a move to facilitate road construction, the company is building a small port and jetty to transport equipment, while 33 megawatts of electricity will be generated for the project.
Mr Anusorn said since the Myanmar government wants to see concrete development of the project, ITD has decided to develop an industrial estate covering 625 rai mainly for small and medium-sized enterprises in sectors such as rubber, oil palm, minerals, fisheries and feed meal.
In a related development, Kanchanaburi province has proposed building an industrial estate at Ban Nong Khao instead of Ban Phu Namron, citing a better logistics network.
Kanchanaburi Governor Chaiwat Limwantha said Ban Nong Khao is more suitable, as it is located at the exit of the motorway from Bang Yai to Kanchanaburi.
He wants Ban Phu Namron to house an inland container depot.
The province proposed to the government at the recent cabinet meeting in Kanchanaburi that the 92-km motorway be extended from Ban Nong Khao to link the border area with Myanmar.
A feasibility study is pending. The extension should be completed before 2015 if approved.
Some developers still favour building an industrial estate at Ban Phu Namron, as it is close to the border and convenient for labourers to cross there.
The province also wants the government to upgrade the border crossings at Three Pagodas Pass and Ban Phu Namron to permanent checkpoints.
Shares of ITD closed yesterday on the SET at 4.14 baht, up two satang, in trade worth 139 million baht.
About the author
- Writer: Chatrudee Theparat
Position: Business Reporter