NEWLY APPOINTED PTT president and chief executive officer Chansin Treenuchagron has defended the state-run giant’s planned acquisition of Glow Energy, assuring that PTT would not dominate the electricity generation business although it was currently the largest energy conglomerate in the country.
He also assured that PTT’s Amazon coffee franchise business will not hurt small market players as PTT only aims to compete with foreign coffee brands.
In his first official interaction with the media yesterday since taking the helm of PTT, Chansin took the opportunity to defend PTT’s move into the electricity generating business. Former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij had raised concerns that the move might lead to PTT dominating the energy business, and implementing business strategies that could drive small players out of the market.
Chansin said that PTT’s subsidiary, Global Power Synergy Pcl (GPSC), plans to acquire Glow Energy Public Co, a power company, as PTT saw the opportunity to supply power to factories in the upcoming Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
“Almost all of the electricity generated by Glow will go to plants based in industrial parks in the three provinces; we do not intend to supply electricity to Bangkok,” he said.
He said adequate and reliable power supply to factories operating there was essential as the government has been promoting the EEC.
GPSC has long been supplying electricity to factories in the Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Rayong province, with an annual capacity of 1,900 megawatts compared to Glow’s 3,000-plus megawatts.
Thailand generates a total of 40,000 megawatts a year from about 30 electricity generating companies. The combined production by the PTT group would amount to about 5,000 megawatts and would be ranked fourth or fifth in the market, he said, offering statistics in response to criticism that PTT might dominate the electricity generation market in the future.
As PTT, GPSC and Glow are all listed on the stock market, PTT could not discriminate against others, he said, referring to criticism that PTT, which monopolises liquefied natural gas(LNG) trading, might sell gas to Glow at cheaper prices than to other electricity plants using LNG.
PTT has sought permission from the Commerce Ministry and the Energy Regulatory Commission for the acquisition deal, he said.
Regarding the Amazon brand coffee business, Chansin said it was born out of concern that declining fossil consumption over time might affect PTT’s oil business.
So, PTT was looking for retail businesses to serve its customers at its gas stations. Recently Amazon expanded into department stores and tourist spots as well and also branched overseas.
“PTT does not dominate the market as there are up to 100,000 coffee shops in Thailand and we would only be competing with foreign coffee brands,” he said.
Korn yesterday petitioned Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan about his concerns over PTT’s plan to acquire Glow.
Acting on behalf of the policy committee of the Democrat Party, Korn said in the statement that PTT might be violating Article 75 of the Constitution, which prohibited state firms from running a business in competition with private companies.
Looking at PTT’s future, Chansin has set his vision on “Change”.
He revealed the management philosophy of PTT for the next two years, saying its strategies would be continued from the previous generation to the next. “Our way of conducting business will be adapted to suit the changing circumstances and challenges of today and the future under the ‘Change for future of Thailand 4.0’ policy,” he said.
He stressed that he embraced “Change”, as the current energy revolution would pose a challenge with the world shifting to clean energy and aiming to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. PTT will also look for new s-curve industries such as artificial intelligence and bio-pharmaceutical.
He said PTT would focus on investments in the EEC rather than abroad. The energy giant will also look to partner other companies in bidding for construction of high-speed rails connecting three international airports – Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in Bangkok and U-tapao in the EEC.
“We had talked with 10 potential partners specialising in train transport and now have a shortlist of two,” he added without disclosing their names.