General Electric expects strong growth in Thai operations

3GE4United States-based conglomerate General Electric said last week that it expects its Thailand unit will post double-digit growth this year from providing technologies to state-run power projects, especially in renewable energy and energy conservation.

Kovit Kantapasara, president and chief executive of the Thai unit of General Electric (GE), said that renewable energy projects and energy conservation projects would contribute 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively, to GE’s bottom line in Thailand. The remainder would come from other sectors and businesses that are part of GE’s portfolio, such as oil and gas, aviation and healthcare.

Earlier this year, GE won a bid to provide a 1,400-megawatt gas turbine to a power plant in Bang Pakong in Chachoengsao on the outskirts of Bangkok, owned and operated by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). EGAT is also planning to build a new power plant in Wang Noi, Ayutthaya province with the same power-generating capacity and Kovit said that GE intends to participate in the bidding to provide the gas turbine for that plant.

The Thai government is committed to increasing the percentage of energy it sources from renewables, as it has limited reserves of natural gas and must rely on imports of crude oil and gas, and also coal. Thailand is already the leader in Southeast Asia in energy sourced from solar and wind power.

Kovit said there are a number of wind farm projects up for bidding this year in Thailand and he sees them as an opportunity for his company. “We estimate the Thai wind turbine market this year will be worth around US$1 billion and we aim to secure as many contracts as we can,” he said.
He said GE’s expertise in wind turbines and power distribution technology would strengthen the company’s revenue and enlarge its market share in Thailand.

The company has also recently ventured into the digital business, providing platforms for analyzing information in industrial plants and improving the efficiency of the production process, Kovit said.

GE has been operating in Thailand since 1981, and some of its business is still in very traditional sectors.  Kovit said GE will compete to supply locomotives for the State Railway of Thailand, as most of the railway’s trains are ageing and need to be replaced. “Almost half of the total 200 trains that are operating are from our company, so we would like to keep supplying the agency,” Kovit said.