PTT, THAILAND’S leading energy conglomerate, announced it will invest more than Bt50 billion in a strategic expansion from this year until 2021.
Auttapol Rerkpiboon, senior executive vice president of the oil business unit, said that of the Bt50 billion investment, about 70 per cent would remain in the oil business, including expanding its oil stations and improving the company’s warehouse system, logistics and transportation. The remaining 30 per cent would be equally divided between overseas investments and non-oil businesses.
PTT is reshuffling its business direction towards potential non-oil businesses, which will be expanded not only in Thailand, but also in other potential markets in Asia and around the world. They include a solar power plant, energy storage systems, Caf้ Amazon coffee houses, and an electric vehicle charging network.
The key directions of future business expansion will be strategic shifts from oil to retail business as a new growth engine, from product to business platforms, and from domestic to regional and global markets.
PTT president and chief executive officer Tevin Vongvanich said that the solar rooftop market has strong potential for growth as the Ministry of Energy encourages people to install such electricity generating equipment at home. However, people who install solar rooftops will still need to buy electricity from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand during the night time when they cannot produce their own electricity from solar rooftop panels. Storing solar energy captured during the day to provide electricity for use at night could solve that issue.
“We are studying investing in the production of energy storage equipment and systems, which are now in the development stage,” said Tevin.
He said that PTT’s flagship for electricity and utility, Global Power Synergy Plc (GPSC), recently signed an agreement with 24M Technologies for the exclusive right to produce lithium-ion batteries in Thailand starting in 2019. The batteries would be used as backup storage for the energy grid, supporting alternative energy such as wind and solar.
GPSC had made its first expansion of energy business in Japan with last year’s development of a 20.8 mega-watt solar power plant in Ichinoseki at the cost of 10 billion yen (Bt3.011 trillion). The plant is scheduled for commercial operation in the fourth quarter this year and will supply electricity to Tohoku Electric Power under a 20-year contract.
Auttapol said that PTT planned to increase the number of its oil stations from 1,544 at the end of last year to 1,852 oil stations by the end of 2021. The company would also increase the number of oil stations in overseas markets including Laos, Cambodia, -the Philippines, and Myanmar from 183 stations at the end of last year to 535 stations by the end of 2021.
He said that the company also wanted to increase the number of PTT oil stations installing electrical vehicle chargers from six stations currently to about 20 by the end of this year. He believes the move will be in line with the increasing number of electric vehicles on the road in the future.
Meanwhile, they will increase the number of Cafe Amazon coffee houses from 1,667 stores at the end of last year to 2,000 stores by the end of this year. Of these, about 1,700 stores will be owned and operated by small and medium enterprises under licences granted by the company. Caf? Amazon currently employs 12,000 skilled staff in Thailand. PTT also opened Amazon outlets in Laos (21), Cambodia (26), the Philippines (1), and Myanmar (1). The first Caf? Amazon coffeehouse in Japan opened in Kawauchi in November last year. Japan is one of the top three coffee consuming nations in Asia. Japanese people consume between 3.5 and 4 kilograms of coffee per capita yearly.
“We plan to open 2,700 Cafe Amazon coffee-houses totally in Thailand, and another 400 coffee-houses in overseas markets by 2021,” said Auttapol. Oman will get its first coffeehouse this year, and the company is in negotiation with potential partners in many target markets, including Malaysia, Singapore and Shanghai,” said Auttapol.
Auttapol said that PTT had also strengthened its back-end facilities by developing its own distribution centre for the supply of coffee ingredients and equipment to Caf? Amazon outlets. The company last year also opened its own coffee roasting plant on 20 rais land plot (3.2 hectares) in Wang Noi, Ayutthaya, with current capacity of 2,700 tonnes yearly. The capacity is projected to triple by next year.
Auttapul said Cafe Amazon served 140 million cups in 2016 with sales posted at US$229 million (7.78 billion baht), up 30 per cent over the previous year. He expects Cafe Amazon to serve 180 million cups this year with sales reaching U$285 million.