PTT merger delayed yet again and Map Ta Phut tops new minister’s agenda

By Malini Hariharan

A merger of PTT Aromatics and Refinery (PTTAR) and IRPC has once again been postponed to early next year due to concerns about legal issues and the business outlook, reports to Bangkok Post.

The legal concerns relate to the country’s competition law and outstanding lawsuits filed by Prachai Leophairatana, the founder of Thai Petrochemical Industry, which was taken over by PTT and renamed as IRPC.

And when in doubt it is best to ask for a fresh study.

So an unnamed consultancy company has been hired to once again examine the pros and cons of a merger, the global petrochemical business outlook and future performance of the two companies.

The proposed merger has been delayed fairly regularly since it was first mooted in early 2009. It was first planned as a merger between all subsidiaries of PTT Plc but was then narrowed to PTTAR and IRPC in the first phase.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s new minister for industry, Chaiwuti Bannawatis, has been assuring companies that he will find a quick solution to the legal impasse that has stalled projects at Map Ta Phut.

As a first step the minister will isit companies at the industrial estate to restore confidence. He has also suggested road shows to boost confidence of international investors.

But investors are looking for action and not words. Confidence will quickly return if Thailand can get a few projects going.

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