Regarding Thailand 4.0 policy, many companies in many sectors adapt for their growth by using innovation. Bangchak focuses on expanding businesses by adding value on research studies, and also has set up BIIC which is an internal innovative center. Now, we are going to talk about it with Mr. Chaiwat Kovavisarach, President and CEO of Bangchak.
Q: What is a BIIC? What does BIIC do?
A: BIIC (Bangchak Initiative and Innovation Center) is an innovation center. Bangchak has its own laboratory and product research center. Bangchak has set up investment budget for startup or incubation stage two years ago. As we all know, Bangchak has invested in Lithium business thanks to our innovation center. In this year, we think about grouping them together and consolidate them to be under the same department which is BIIC which takes responsibility for researches. Bangchak researches currently focus on Bio products, and we try to continue developing value added products from palm. We think that Bio products will be an important matter in the future, as Thai government gives high importance for Bio products as one of the five new S Curve for Thailand. As such, Bangchak will be responding to this idea, by giving attention to our bio-products business. Finally, we may change our bio-products business structure, and see how we can continue on it. Primarily, we plan to research on specialty products which is scarce and has a higher value added.
Q: BIIC’s researches focus not only Bio product but also other products with high value added. What will we expect from BIIC in 2017?
A: There are 2 obvious results which are bio products and retail business. For retail business, we have also learn something from Plug and Play (a start up in Silicon Valley). Currently, Bangchak oil station has its own convenience store named SPAR which is brand from overseas.
Q: How does Bangchak plan to expand SPAR shops?
A: Bangchak recently opened 6 SPAR shops in 2016. First shop was located in our service station on Ratchapruek road. Actually that service station was already opened for 6 months, but after we incorporate SPAR in it, we saw an increase in oil sales volume in that location by nearly 20%. Customers who come for foods and shopping also refuel their cars. This year, we plan to open around 100 service stations and 55 SPAR shops in our service stations. We focus on opening new service stations in large, has a high potential and locate around residential areas.
Q: What is Bangchak’s plan considering innovation and overseas business revenue, such as Lithium business and green power plant business?
A: For power plant business, Bangchak focuses only on investment in green power plant which will be operated and invested under BCPG. As we all know, currently BCPG has an installed capacity of 220 MW. This year, we plan to expand its capacity to around 400 MW.
At the beginning of this year, Bangchak invested in Lithium business, which has a good future prospect. Lithium price in world market rose quite high and Lithium is in high demand. We expect that we can start Lithium production in 2019, and have a production capacity of 25,000 ton. Nowadays, people consume Lithium around 160,000 ton. If the business expand according to plan, we will have Lithium production capacity of 50,000 ton, which will account for 20% of total market share, and will be one of the largest Lithium source in the world. Bangchak expects to recognize revenue from Lithium business in next 2 years.
Today, we see outlook of Bangchak which will be different from the past. Now, Bangchak grows up with innovation to face with Thailand 4.0.