BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's largest petrochemical maker, PTT Global Chemical Pcl (PTTGC) PTTGC.BK, plans to invest $11 billion by 2020 to expand capacity and focus on high-margin specialties and green products, its chief executive said.
That budget included a plan to invest $3 billion to build a new olefins cracker with estimated annual capacity of 1 million metric tons (1.1 million tons), Chief Executive Anon Sirisaengtaksin told Reuters in an interview.
Concern about the impact of Europe's debt crisis has led PTT Global, one of the world's top 10 ethylene makers, to review its investment plans, and this year the firm would focus on maximizing benefits from a recent merger and "debottleneck" existing facilities to produce more, he said.
The latter should help boost output of plastic pellets by 70,000-80,000 metric tons a year and was expected to be completed by 2014.
"For projects that yield high returns and do not need a lot of investment, we will go ahead. But for new projects that we haven't committed to, we still have time to consider," Anon said.
The company is looking for a location to build the new cracker to serve growing demand in Asia, especially in China, Indonesia and Vietnam, and it is also looking at building a new bio plastic plant in the next five years, he said.
"We have not been affected much (from a slowdown in China). They are likely to bargain on some prices, but we think demand is still there," he said adding 50 percent of the company's 1.59 million metric tons in plastic pellets was sold to China.
PTT Global, 49 percent owned by top energy firm PTT Pcl (PTT.BK), planned to invest 17 billion baht ($540 million) this year, including 9.4 billion baht to purchase stakes in U.S-based NatureWorks LLC, the world's largest polylactic acid maker, and Perstorp Holding France SAS PAIPRP.UL.
Formed in October 2011 through the merger of PTT Chemical Pcl and PTT Aromatics and Refining Pcl, PTT Global has olefins and aromatic petrochemical capacity of 8.26 million metric tons a year and refining capacity of 280,000 barrels per day.
High-volume specialties and green products are expected to contribute about 30-40 percent of the company's revenue within the next 10 years, up from about 10 percent now, he said.
PTT Global, the petrochemical flagship of PTT group, aimed to double its revenue to $37 billion by 2020 from about $17 billion in 2011, Anon said, adding 2012 revenue would be close to last year. ($1 = 31.4900 Thai baht)
Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong and Wilawan Pongpitak; Editing by Alan Raybould