Mitr Phol sweet on expansion

Mitr Phol sweet on expansion

B18bn budget will support revenue rise

Mitr Phol Group, Asia's biggest sugar producer, has earmarked 18 billion baht for expansion in both domestic and international markets.

Chief executive and president Krisda Monthienvichienchai said the company planned to spend the money on its five core businesses including 159 million baht for sugar planting under its Mitr Phol Modern Farm project and 8 billion on its domestic and international sugar business.

Mitr Phol plans to spend 3.9 billion baht on renewable energy and 2.9 billion on its wood-substitute materials business.

Krisda: Increase in crushing capacity

Another 2.7 billion baht will be set aside for expansion of local businesses in Australia and China that the company has acquired in recent years.

"This year, we're allocating funding for each of our businesses," Mr Krisda said. "Our strategy is to set aside 18 billion baht to support our revenue growth, with the major proportion earmarked for our sugar business."

Mitr Phol's investment plan bucks the trend of the declining sugar industry. World sugar prices have tumbled from a record high of 36 US cents a pound to 13 cents due largely to a substantial global surplus.

The group expects revenue growth of 4% to 89 billion baht this year from 84 billion last year due to increased sugar-crushing capacity.

Mr Krisda said the rising capacity would increase sales to offset losses from declining prices.

Mitr Phol's crushing capacity is now at 20.6 million tonnes of sugar cane, up by 20% from before.

"Our crushing capacity is expected to rise further in line with the country's rising sugar-cane production after the government gave full support to encouraging farmers to switch from growing rice to sugar cane," he said.

Mitr Phol's revenue last year came from its domestic sugar business (42.8%), Chinese sugar business (27.1%), renewable energy (17.8%), Australian sugar business (5.8%), wood substitutes (4.6%), logistics (1.2%) and Asean sugar business (0.6%).

Aumporn Kanjanakumnerd, chief operating officer of Mitr Phol's sugar business group, said the company expected its crushing capacity in the 2015-16 crop to rise to capitalise on increased sugar-cane production.

"In this 2014-15 crop, the country's crushing capacity has risen to nearly 106 million tonnes. We also hope our crushing capacity will surpass 20.6 million tonnes," she said.

Ms Aumporn said the company expected global sugar prices would recover gradually.

Mitr Phol also plans to expand its renewable energy business, increasing generating capacity at its biogas and ethanol plants in Kalasin province by 45 megawatts and 1.5 million litres, respectively.

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