By SOMLUCK SRIMALEE
MITR PHOL GROUP, the country’s biggest sugar and bio-energy producer, has budgeted Bt50.4 billion to invest in five major areas between now and 2020: sugar, renewable energy, wood-substitute materials, overseas ventures, and logistics.
President and chief executive officer Krisda Monthienvichien-chai told a news conference on the weekend that Bt28 billion would be spent on the sugar business, such as developing its facilities and water system.
A further Bt15 billion will be spent on the renewable-energy business, with Bt3 billion to develop an investment plan for wood-substitute materials, Bt3.6 billion for overseas business, and Bt800 million to develop its logistics system.
About Bt8 billion of the Bt28 billion budgeted for its sugar business will be allocated according to the government’s economic stimulus measures and will be invested in projects that help strengthen the grass-roots economy according to the government’s Pracha Rath strategy, he said.
Currently, the sugar business accounts for 42.8 per cent of Mitr Phol’s sales and service revenue. Energy business contributes 17.8 per cent, wood-substitute materials 4.6 per cent, and logistics 1.2 per cent. Its business in China accounts for 27.1 per cent, that in Australia 5.8 per cent, and Asean ventures 0.6 per cent.
Krisda said 2016 would still be a challenging year for the Thai economy given the uncertain global economic outlook and other unfavourable factors affecting the Thai export sector, and more important, the severe droughts that have hit the agricultural sector.
“Our approach to business growth focuses on research and development, application of innovative technology and a fully integrated agribusiness model to improve production and management of sugar-cane farming and the sugar industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the group places great importance on strengthening the organisation of sugar-cane farmers, which is a critical upstream production player of Mitr Phol Group’s business, while supporting the national agenda to drive long-term stable economic growth in accordance with the government’s Pracha Rath strategy, he added.
Its support for the Pracha Rath strategy will include sustainable community-development projects, with the aim of expanding the knowledge base and creating added value to raw materials available in the community. Developing community products will create jobs for a sustainable future.
Other projects will align with the Board of Investment’s promotion policy in rural areas, and will support small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector.
Mitr Phol Group is Thailand’s No 1 sugar producer and exporter and the world’s fifth-largest. The group is also the largest bio-power and ethanol producer in Thailand and Asia.
With these strategic investments, the group is confident that it can generate enough business growth to be the world’s leading sugar and bio-based industry in the near future, Krisda said.