Marubeni, PTT Unit to Consider Building Power Plants in Asia

Marubeni Corp., Japan’s biggest investor in electricity outside of utilities, agreed to study building generation plants in Southeast Asia with a unit of Thailand’s state-owned PTT Plc.

Marubeni and PTT’s Global Power Synergy Co. will evaluate adding power stations in Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, PTT Chief Financial Officer Surong Bulakul said by phone today. Tokyo-based Marubeni and Global Power will study each project separately and decide whether to pursue it jointly, Surong said, adding that the partnership has no legal commitment.

The agreement was earlier reported by the Nikkei newspaper, which said the two companies would jointly invest 1 trillion yen ($10.6 billion) to build plants with a total capacity of 5,000 megawatts in the Southeast Asian nations. A Marubeni spokesman declined to comment, asking not to be identified in line with company policy.

Marubeni is tapping Southeast Asia, projected to grow 5.9 percent this year by the International Monetary Fund, as the general trading house seeks to cut its reliance on Japan and commodities for earnings. Global Power, which has 1,600 megawatts of capacity, is seeking to boost generation to 6,000 megawatts by 2020.

Separately, Global Power may make an initial public offering next year, Surong said, without elaborating.

Metals contributed 23 percent of Marubeni’s record 205.7 billion yen profit in the year ended March 31, while about 15 percent came from sales of energy commodities such as crude oil and natural gas. The Japanese trading house has steadily grown its investments in power plants and water treatment businesses over the last 10 years. Power projects grew to contribute 14 percent of net income in the last financial year from 1.1 in 2010.

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