Venture to help shore up economy

Mostly-state owned energy firm Bangchak Corporation Plc (BCP) is preparing to launch a new business diversification scheme in the second half this year to help shore up the reeling economy.

BCP president Chaiwat Kovavisarath did not divulge further details, saying only the new business will be part of the state plan to restore the economy, which has been battered by three Covid-19 outbreaks since last year.

“New investments were low in 2020, so in the post-pandemic period we are committed to going ahead with more investments,” said Mr Chaiwat.

BCP’s plan to venture into a new business followed its move to enter a high value bio-based business through a 800-million-baht share acquisition in US-based Manus Bio, a global leading biotechnology manufacturer, last year.

The share purchase contract was made in April 2020 through BBGI Co, the biotechnological arm of BCP.

BBGI also formed a joint venture with Manus to set up Win Ingredients to develop biotechnology business in Thailand and expand it to Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea.

Their production facility is set to be located in Chacheongsao. A final investment decision will be made in the second half this year.

BCP plans to list BBGI on the Stock Exchange of Thailand this year. It is preparing to seek approval from the authorities for an initial public offering.

BCP this year has allocated capital spending worth almost 23 billion baht for business expansion, particularly in the renewable power generation sector.

Despite the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, BCP managed to gain earning before, interest, tax and depreciation amortisation (Ebitda) of 4.73 billion baht from total sales worth 41.23 billion baht in the first quarter this year. It recorded a net profit of 2.28 billion baht.

BCP plans to increase crude oil production through its Norway-based subsidiary Okea to 20 kilo barrels per day (KBPD), up from 16 KBPD last year, following a rise in global crude oil prices.

In the oil refinery business, BCP plans to increase production capacity to 110 KBPD from 97.2 KBPD last year.

Mr Chaiwat said the firm will not rush to push its plan to build a lithium battery production facility as it needs to study fast-changing tech in energy storage and electric vehicle businesses.

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