A lawyer representing Siva Nganthavee will appeal against the Civil Court's verdict next week in one of the cases against Banpu Plc, demanding the president and chief executive, as well as two directors, of the coal miner be held responsible for damages.
Mr Siva and his associated companies sought damages totalling 63.5 billion baht from Banpu in 2007, but the court ruled this September that Banpu pay Mr Siva's group 31.3 billion baht over 28 years. Now Mr Siva is seeking to have the company's top executive and directors pay the balance of 32.2 billion.
Theerapun Petchsuwan, Mr Siva's lawyer, accused president and CEO Chanin Vongkusolkit, as well as director Ongart Auapinyakul and former director Chanchai Jivacate, of "jointly committing wrongdoing" that led the Lao government to cancel the original concession for coal mining and a power project in Hongsa.
In September, the court ordered Banpu to pay 31.3 billion baht in damages to Mr Siva for using information gained from their joint venture and "misinforming" the Lao government, resulting in Vientiane cancelling Thai-Lao Lignite's (TLL) original concession.
The lawsuit against Mr Chanin and the two directors, however, was dismissed by the court.
Mr Chanin told the Bangkok Post that it is the right of every party to appeal in this case. Banpu itself is preparing to do so. The other two directors, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment.
"Banpu believes that both sides will proceed with the legal process to the end. The outcome of the case lies with the court, but Banpu is confident about the good governance and integrity of the company in its business dealings," he said.
Mr Theerapun said he would appeal before Dec 10.
"These persons took part in the wrongdoing, thus they have to be jointly responsible for the damages," he said.
Founded by Mr Siva, TLL won a concession from Vientiane in 2000 to develop a coal-fired power plant for sale to Thailand. In 2004, Banpu entered into a joint venture with TLL for the project. The Laos government terminated TLL's concession in October 2006, citing a lack of development. Two months later, Banpu signed a memorandum of understanding to take over the project.
The SET-listed coal miner holds 40% of the project, with Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding owning an equal stake. The balance is controlled by the Laos government.
Mr Theerapun said the appeal will also be filed for the damages to be paid immediately and in lump sum.
The September verdict awarded 4 billion baht for cost of the feasibility study and 27.3 billion for opportunity losses over a 28-year period starting in 2015 when the project was scheduled to operate.
"The damages have already been incurred. We see no need to wait until the defendant gains the revenue [from Hongsa project]," said Mr Theerapun.
He also reiterated an intention to seek more compensation. Mr Siva originally sought damages of 63.5 billion baht from Banpu, including 4 billion for the feasibility study and 59.5 billion for revenue losses due to the cancellation of the TLL concession.
The Hongsa power plant, according to the feasibility study, would have generated profits of around 100 billion baht over the term of the project.
Meanwhile, Mr Siva has sought damages of US$71 million from Laos for breaking the original contract with TLL for the project. The case has been in arbitration since 2007.
Banpu's shares have been adversely affected by the court's ruling.
Shares of BANPU on the SET fell three baht yesterday to close at 392 baht in trade worth 245.1 million baht.
About the author
- Writer: Nareerat Wiriyapong
Position: Business Reporter