Bangkok-based Banpu to buy Texas power plant

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Continuing with its acquisition of the U.S. natural gas assets, the Bangkok-based Banpu has now agreed to purchase a combined cycle gas-fired power plant in Texas.

According to Forbes , Banpu, controlled by billionaire Isara Vongkusolkit, will buy the power plant for U.S. $430 million.

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Banpu looks to the future

mergers and acquisitions

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For some time now, Banpu has been investing in sustainable projects as it steers a new course.

Last year, it established Banpu Next, which includes its energy technology businesses. Those include electric vehicles, renewable energy plants and electric ferries.

The company may not exit the coal mining business altogether for another decade or so because of the continued demand for coal. However, it has said it will no longer invest in new coal assets, preferring to put money into renewable energy.

In an interview with CNBC, Chief Executive Somruedee Chaimongkol — sometimes referred to as “Asia’s first lady of coal” — said the firm wanted to make half of its earnings from green energy by 2025.

Having taken over the reins of the company in 2015, Chaimongkol established what she called a “greener, smarter” business plan for the firm the following year.

Banpu has been sniffing around for investment opportunities in power projects that use cleaner fuel. The firm aims to expand the group’s electricity generation capacity to 6,100 megawatts by 2025 from over 3,300 megawatts currently.

Its 2020 annual report showed that coal accounted for more than 95% of Banpu Public Company Ltd’s revenue. The report also indicated that, including the company’s overseas subsidiaries, coal accounted for more than 80% of total revenue.

On the acquisitions trail

The acquisition of the 768 MW Texas power plant is its third and largest overseas acquisition in this year.

In June, it had agreed to buy two solar farms with a combined capacity of 166.8 MW in Australia for A$97.5 million (approximately U.S. $72 million). It had also invested U.S. $80 million to buy a minority stake in a 543 MW plant in Japan.

In a statement, the CEO called the investment “a significant milestone” under the company’s  long-term investment strategy and a stepping stone to the power business under wholesale electricity market.

Banpu has acquired the power plant in Texas from Temple Generation I. The transaction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2021.

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