Ratch allots B10bn for 2013 projects, investments

The SET-listed Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc (RATCH), Thailand's largest private power producer, has set aside 10 billion baht this year to fund ongoing and new projects, both at home and abroad.

Chief executive Noppol Milinthanggoon said domestically, Ratch is targeting new independent power producer projects set to call for bidding next month as well as additional investments in renewable energies.

Abroad, there is potential in both small and large hydropower plants in Laos, while huge opportunities await in renewable energy businesses in Australia. Ratch also has its eye on small projects in Cambodia, he said.

"We allocated 8 billion baht for acquiring and developing new projects," said Mr Noppol.

Some 2 billion baht will be spent on ongoing investments including two small power producers in Thailand and Laos's Hongsa Lignite and Xe Pian-Xe Nam Noy hydroelectric plants.

The firm is also committed to joint investment with Italian-Thai Development Plc, Thailand's largest contractor, in power plants in Myanmar and Cambodia.

"The company is seeking opportunities in the Philippines and New Zealand focusing on mergers and acquisitions along with brownfield and greenfield investment. Myanmar is also interesting, as foreign investment has recently been allowed," said Mr Noppol.

Last year, the company posted a record net profit of 7.73 billion baht, up by 59%, as revenue grew by 31% to 60 billion baht. The jump was due mainly to higher profit from Ratch-Australia Corporation and divestment of the Loy Yang-A power project in Australia.

Ratch targets a capacity increase of 23% to 7,800 megawatts in 2016 from 6,300 MW at present, with renewable energy capacity rising by 27.8% to 200 MW from 156.5 MW.

Of existing capacity, 73% or 4,586 MW are in Thailand, 1,206 MW (19%) in Laos and 510 MW (8%) in Australia.

Meanwhile, Ratch is ready to build its inventory of bunker oil and diesel to cope with the expected disruption of natural gas supply from Myanmar from April 4-12.

Its stock of 63 million litres of bunker oil will last for six days and 24 million litres of diesel will last for eight days.

Shares of RATCH closed yesterday on the SET at 60.25 baht, up 25 satang, in trade worth 84.9 million baht.

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Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter