Gunkul to invest B2bn in cannabis

Gunkul to invest B2bn in cannabis

SET-listed Gunkul Engineering, a renewable energy developer and builder, is allocating capital spending worth almost 2 billion baht to develop a new cannabis plantation and cannabis oil production facility over the next two years.

An artist's conception of a greenhouse for cannabis built on part of Gunkul's wind farm.

"We want to take advantage of the state's policy that delists marijuana and hemp from the narcotics category to earn extra revenue and make use of vacant land near our wind turbines," said Phongsakorn Damnoen, Gunkul chief operations officer for the energy business.

The company decided to turn 2,000 rai of its wind farms in Nakhon Ratchasima into a plantation and production facility, with a projected capacity of 1.1 tonnes of cannabis per day.

The cannabis business is going to be operated by Gunkul's wholly-owned GK Hemp Group. Of the 2-billion-baht budget, 1.5 billion is for plantation development while 500 million is to develop a factory to extract cannabidiol oil.

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, can be applied for treatments of many ailments.

Construction of hydroponic greenhouses started two weeks ago.

According to Gunkul, a 1,680-square-metre greenhouse has been tentatively designed for the company to plant cannabis for five crop periods a year. The first crop season is scheduled for the fourth quarter this year, with output expected of 100 kilogrammes a day, said Mr Phongsakorn. The amount is expected to increase to 1.1 tonnes per day by the third quarter next year.

In the power generation segment, Gunkul allocated 20 billion baht in capital spending to increase capacity by 1,000 megawatts between 2021 and 2023, said Gunkul chief executive Somboon Aueatchasai.

Up to 80% of the money is to develop and acquire renewable energy facilities in Thailand and Vietnam. The rest is for private power purchase agreements, including rooftop solar panel installation for customers.

Gunkul also plans to bid for state electricity generation and distribution construction projects worth 20 billion baht in total this year.

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