Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding (RATCH) is conducting a feasibility study to invest in a 1,800-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Koh Kong, western Cambodia, after the project was frozen during the conflict between the two countries, said chief executive officer Noppol Milinthanggoon.
Meanwhile, the company is still hopeful that the coal-fired-power-plant project in Burma’s Dawei on which it is jointly conducting a feasibility study with Italian-Thai Development will not be scrapped. The population of Burma is bigger than Thailand’s, so it needs to develop its electricity supply.
RATCH has earmarked Bt8 billion for investments this year, of which roughly Bt3 billion will go for new projects and mergers and acquisitions (M&As).
Noppol said RATCH was reviewing the study to construct a 1,800MW coal-fired power plant in Koh Kong if the Cambodian government opens it up to investment again, which is likely.
RATCH together with Electricity Generating and Italian Power, a subsidiary of Italian-Thai Development, conducted a feasibility study for a 3,660MW coal-fired power plant in Koh Kong in 2008. The project was frozen mainly because of the border conflict between the two countries.
RATCH’s renewed interest in the Koh Kong project comes amid uncertainty over the plan to construct a 4,000MW power plant in Dawei. The Burmese government recently announced that it would halt the project, saying that it wanted to study the environmental impact before it can proceed.
Regarding this year’s investment plan, Noppol said about Bt2.6 billion of the Bt8-billion budget would be used to increase its share in RATCH-Australia Corporation (RAC) to 80 per cent. In 2011, RATCH held a 56.16-per-cent stake in RAC, formerly known as Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund. It increased its share to 68.08 per cent last month with Bt1.3 billion. The company needs another 12-per-cent stake, which will likely cost another Bt1.3 billion.
He said about Bt2.4 billion would be allocated to the company’s 13 existing projects. The remainder is for M&A deals or new projects, both locally and internationally.
“The Bt3-billion budget for M&As is not rigid. We can increase it if we see interesting projects,” he said.
Noppol said the company was optimistic that Burma would have to invest in a power plant soon. The country is opening up, and electricity is a major requirement. RATCH expects to have an opportunity to take part in the project.
He added that RATCH expected to increase its installed electricity-generation capacity to 5,489MW from 5,312MW in 2011. The company added 858MW of installed capacity from Nam Ngum 2 hydropower plant in Laos and RAC.