Gunkul puts B60bn in Burma wind farms

Construction News Vietnam

Looking for partners for 1,000MW project

SET-listed Gunkul Engineering Plc broadened its focus from domestic engineering contractor to invest in a Burmese wind farm worth 60 billion baht generating 1,000 megawatts.

It is seeking partners interested in capturing the vast infrastructure demand in Burma to join its wind farm project.

Chief executive Gunkul Dhumrongpiyawut said the company has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Electric Power in the neighbouring country early last month.

Projects will be developed at three states in southeastern Burma: Mon, Kayin and Tanintharyi.

The MoU states the project’s feasibility study should be completed within two years, by October 2013.

He said Gunkul will hold 25-30% ownership while a potential Thai partner, either the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand or the Provincial Electricity Authority, would buy power from its farm. Partners from Japan, Korea, and the Burmese government will own 10% each.

The wind farm is scheduled to be developed in three years. Construction will be divided into five phases, each with a capacity of 200 MW, starting with the first phase over the next six months. The transmission line requires the investment of the Burmese government.

Managing director Sopacha Dhumrongpiyawut said 70-80% of electricity from the wind farm will be supplied to Thailand, with the rest serving demand in Burma.

She said the investment will be partially supported by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. It should start to generate income by 2015.

Mr Gunkul said the company projects its revenue will reach 3.5 billion baht this year with a goal of 4 billion in 2012. The wind farm could contribute 1.5 billion baht worth of backlog next year.

Gunkul also aims to take part in the oil and gas business in Burma partly through its distributor Zeya & Associates Co, which delivers energy equipment. The distributor has grown quickly the past three years in Burma, contributing revenue of 1.3 billion baht this year with a projection of double that in 2012.

Zeya also expects to invest in wind, hydro, and solar power projects.

Zeya Thura Mon, chief executive officer of Zeya & Associates, said business in Burma would continue to grow as the new Burmese government opens up the economy, especially in energy, telecommunication and automobile sectors.

Major foreign players in Burma are from China, Korea and Europe. Vietnamese and American companies are expected to invest in Burma next year to capitalise on the growing local economy. Siamgas and Petrochemicals, which was mentioned in a report as a potential partner of Gunkul for a gas pipeline in Burma, brushed aside the report, saying it had not even started to talk about it.

An executive noted the company has no experience with gas pipelines, making the rumour even more unlikely.


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