Thailand’s largest contractor seeks buyers for 15% of potash mine project
Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), the country’s largest contractor, is offering for sale 15% of its delayed $800-million potash mine in Udon Thani with a plan to begin construction early next year.
The company has been approached by both Thai and foreign partners who want to take part in the 24.3-billion-baht project in which ITD owns 90%, with the rest held by the Thai government, said Chartchai Chutima, deputy chief executive of finance.
Bangkok Bank, the project’s financial adviser, has been working on the sale of 15% of ITD’s shares. Details are expected to be finalised this month and the deal should be completed within this year, Mr Chartchai said.
Developed by Asia-Pacific Potash Corp (AAPC), the project has been delayed for five years because of environmental concerns.”We expect to have the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report approved within this year together with a mining licence. The construction is targeted to commence in early 2012 and the project will be operational in two years,” he said.
With the project’s annual capacity of up to three million tonnes, Thailand is poised to gain significantly from exports by AAPC given the potash price in the range of $500 and $600 per tonne today, he added.
ITD, meanwhile, is scheduled to sign a contract worth 8 billion baht with the State Railway of Thailand next week for track rehabilitation. The project will start to generate revenue for the contractor this year.
ITD, which reported a net loss of 207.45 million baht in the first quarter against a net profit of 179 million in the same period of 2010, could return to profitability next year when its huge Dawei development project in Burma, as well as the Blue mass-transit rail line in Bangkok, begin to generate revenue, said Mr Chartchai
President Premchai Karnasuta said the company was also beginning the construction of an aluminum smelter in Laos at a cost of around 50 billion baht. The project will take two years to complete.
As well, work on a US$4.5-billion electric train project in Vietnam is under development with a total distance of 60 kilometres. ITD will also bid for the Green and Red rail lines in Bangkok later this year.
“We have been in talks with the governments of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to construct housing projects there. Orders from all Arabian countries totalled two million units of houses, including 5,000 units in Kuwait,” Mr Premchai added.