| BANGKOK, July 4
BANGKOK, July 4 State-owned power producer
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) plans to
venture overseas and could invest 17 billion baht ($525 million)
in expanding into Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and other regional
markets, a group executive said.
EGAT will be joining private Thai power producers such as
Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Pcl and Electricity
Generating Pcl in looking overseas for growth as a
slowing economy at home saps demand and opposition from locals
and environmental activists make domestic expansion harder.
The group is in discussions to build power plants in
neighbouring countries and send some of the electricity back to
Thailand, Thana Puttarangsri, acting President of EGAT
International, told Reuters. EGAT International is the overseas
investment arm of EGAT.
EGAT International planned to invest 2.6 billion baht to
acquire a 30 percent stake in the 289-megawatt (MW) Nam Ngiep
hydro power plant in Laos, which is expected to start operations
in 2019, Thana said.
In late June, the company signed a contract with the
Vietnamese government to develop two coal-fired power plants
with combined capacity of 1,200 MW in Quang Tri province. It
will spend 8.5 billion baht for a 40 percent stake in the two
power plants, he said.
EGAT International is also planning to spend 1.5 billion
baht on buying a 25 percent stake in a coal mine in Indonesia,
Additionally, the company is planning to invest at least 55
billion baht in two power projects which will have a combined
capacity of 8,360 MW. A decision on that is pending clearer
regulation by the Myanmar government, he said.
Months of political deadlock in Thailand has hurt tourism,
domestic demand and confidence. Its economy contracted 2.1
percent in January-March from the previous three months, and the
central bank last month cut its 2014 growth forecast to 1.5
percent. The military seized power in May.
The longer term outlook for power demand in Southeast Asia's
second-largest economy is bright. Domestic power demand is
expected to reach 52,256 MW by 2030 from 26,355 in 2013, while
Thailand needs to double its electricity generating capacity to
70,000 MW over the next 16 years.
($1 = 32.3600 Thai Baht)
(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)