* Plans to sell non-core assets after investment cutback
* PTT lacks expertise in palm oil plantations
* Deal likely to draw interest from Wilmar, Sime Darby
(Add details on industry, past investments, budget figures)
By Khettiya Jittapong and Pisit Changplayngam
BANGKOK, Sept 11 Thailand's largest energy firm,
PTT Pcl, plans to sell its palm oil business in
Indonesia worth an estimated $300-400 million as part of moves
to divest non-core businesses, a senior company official said on
State-controlled PTT is one of several Thai companies that
expanded aggressively in recent years, but which have since
scaled back investments because of a slump in Southeast Asian
exports in recent months. PTT slashed this year's budget by 46
percent and most of its cutbacks involved planned foreign
Charoen Pokphand Foods Pcl, Thailand's largest meat
and animal feed producer, also cut its five-year investment
budget by a third, while Thai Union Frozen Products Pcl
, the world's largest canned tuna marker, cut investment
this year by 17 percent.
"We are in the process of selling palm plantations in
Indonesia," the PTT official, who declined to be named, told
Reuters. "It's a business that needs a lot of attention and is
more suitable for locals, while PTT does not have much
background in palm plantations," he said.
The deal is likely to attract interest from planters such as
Singapore's Wilmar International Ltd and Malaysia's
Sime Darby Bhd, a source familiar with the deal told
PTT, the third-biggest listed oil and gas firm by market
value in the Asia-Pacific region, bought stakes in palm oil
plantations and processing operations in West Kalimantan in 2008
as part of a plan to expand into green energy businesses.
It set up a wholly-owned unit PTT Green Energy Pte Ltd to
buy a 95 percent stake in PT Mitra Aneka Rezeki for $14.7
million in February 2008. The Indonesian firm has licences to
run about 14,000 hectares palm oil plantations in west of
In April 2008, PTT bought a 95 percent stake in PT Az Zhara,
which owns licences to operate about 40,500 hectares of palm oil
plantations and processing facilities in the central Kalimantan
The Thai energy giant also has interest in coal businesses
in Indonesia. It withdrew from an investment in Egypt in 2011.
Through its 66 percent-owned PTT Exploration and Production
Pcl, PTT has interests in oil and gas assets in
Southeast Asia, Australia, Algeria, Canada and Mozambique.
At 0800 GMT, PTT shares were down 1.5 percent,
underperforming a 0.3 percent drop of the broad market.
($1 = 32.14 baht)
(Additional reporting by Saeed Ahzar and Anshuman Daga in
SINGAPORE; Editing by Matt Driskill)