WHA Utilities & Power Public Company Limited (WHAUP) outlines its 2021 business plan to drive investment in power and utilities businesses especially in solar energy, as well as value added water products.
The company also aims to bring technology to develop innovative solutions for new services and explore merger and acquisition opportunities, especially in Vietnam. WHAUP expects to grow its performance in terms of normalized revenue and share of profits by 25% and maintain a high EBITDA margin of at least 50%. The five-year investment budget (2021-2025) is set at Baht 12 billion.
Dr. Niphon Bundechanan, Chief Executive Officer of WHAUP, reveals that in 2021 the company will continue to focus on business growth inside and outside WHA Industrial Estates in Thailand and Vietnam, along with the development of innovative solutions for renewable energy and new utilities services. It predicts that its normalized revenue and share of profits in 2021 will increase by 25% from last year and EBITDA margin will be maintained at the level of at least 50%.
To expand the energy business this year, WHAUP will concentrate on renewable energy projects, such as Solar Rooftop, Floating Solar and Ground-mounted Solar, for customers in both WHA Industrial Estates and non-WHA Industrial Estates. WHAUP’s electricity-generation capacity, based on the company’s shareholding equity, will reach 650 megawatts in 2021, or a 10% rise from last year. In addition, the company is exploring M&A opportunities in solar and wind farm projects in Vietnam.
Furthermore, the company is working on the development of new innovations such as the Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading among factories in industrial estates with Blockchain technology, which is part of the Energy Regulatory Commission Sandbox project (ERC Sandbox).
It is also testing the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), which will be used along with the solar energy generation. The first installation is scheduled at its water plant in Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate (Rayong). The next step for BESS is to expand into the company’s other operation sites and offer this service to WHA industrial estate customers. WHAUP believes the new innovations could significantly expand the renewable energy capacity and create a new business model following new government-related regulations.
For the utilities business, WHAUP’s CEO expects to sell and manage water, totaling 153 million cubic meters this year. This represents a 34% increase from last year, given a recovery of water demand and the opening of new customers’ projects.
The company will continue to increase investment in value-added products such as Demineralized Water, Premium Clarified Water, and Wastewater Reclamation inside and outside WHA Industrial Estates. It will also pursue the development of Smart Utilities Service Platform and Innovative Solutions for industrial customers in both WHA Industrial Estates and non-WHA Industrial Estates.
Last year, WHAUP invested in the expansion of its Reclaimed Water capacity at WHA Eastern Industrial Estate (Map Ta Phut), to 9.1 million cubic meters per year, making it Thailand’s biggest Reclaimed Water plant. Presently, its total reclaimed water capacity is 11 million cubic meters per year.
The expansion of wastewater reclamation projects is not only to reduce dependence on water from natural resources and manage water at higher efficiency, but also to increase business opportunities by bringing water from the treatment system to produce demineralized water and premium clarified water for target customers.
Last year, WHAUP entered a 15-year sale and purchase agreement for demineralized water phase 2 with Global Power Synergy Public Company Limited (GPSC), for the distribution of 3.1 million cubic meters per year. In addition, the premium clarified water sale contract with Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited (GULF) worth was finalized for a total of 1.9 million cubic meters per year for 15 years. The total contract value with both customers is Baht 2.5 billion.
In Vietnam, WHAUP began providing water sales and wastewater treatment services to customers in WHA Industrial Zone 1 – Nghe An in 2019, and expects the volume of water sales and distribution in 2021 to rise to 500,000 cubic meters per year.
WHAUP also invested in two tap water companies. Cua Lo Water Supply Co, the producer and distributor of tap water in Nghe An, where WHAUP holds a 47.3% stake, plans to hike its capacity from 4.7 million cubic meters per year to 8.4 million cubic meters in 2021. Nghe An city is experiencing high population growth and increased economic activities, so water demand is on the rise.
The second company, Duong River Surface Water Plant Co (SDWTP), a leading tap water producer in Hanoi where WHAUP holds a 34% stake, benefits from the growth of industrial areas in Hanoi and nearby cities such as Bac Ninh and Hung Yen. SDWTP is expanding its tap water service coverage in the three cities and estimates tap water sales in 2021 to reach 76 million cubic meters per year, or a 45% surge from last year.
The CEO of WHAUP concludes that the company will explore opportunities to make additional investments in Thailand and abroad to build sustainable growth. It sets aside an investment budget during 2021-2025 for energy and utilities business at Baht 12 billion.