THAILAND: PTTGC focuses on technology

Chief executive Anon Sirisaengtaksin said the company plans to develop technology through its own research and development and joint ventures with strategic partners.

PTTGC, which is 49% owned by the energy giant PTT Plc, plans to set up a venture capital unit to monitor new technologies and innovations created everywhere in the world.

"This unit will be our tool to joint ventures or to co-develop business with new technology partners," said Mr Anon.

The company will nearly double its number of researchers to 140 this year from 80 now.

Last year, PTTEP appointed Puntip Oungpasuk as chief technology officer in a move to drive fast and unified technology development.

"If we want to be the leading chemical producer in the region, then we must develop our own technology," said Mr Anon. "We need access to technology that we can use to upgrade production."

Last year, the company acquired majority shares in the France-based Perstorp, which has the world's leading polyurethane technology. The alliance plans to set up a production plant for toluene diisocyanate in Thailand.

In late 2011, PTTEP acquired 46% of Myriant Technologies Inc, which uses biosuccinic technology to make biodegradable plastic.

"The more the world's middle-class population grows, the more need there is for life-science products," said Mr Anon.

The company has formed a research network with leading state universities and the National Science and Technology Development Agency.

"We're ready to build our own technology and science platform for our future in order to ensure sustainable development," said Mr Anon.

By focusing more on technology development, PTTGC targets sales of high-value and green plastics will account for 40-45% of its products by 2022, while the contribution from commodity-grade petrochemical products will be reduced to 55-60% from 90%.

Source: Daily "Bangkok Post", Bangkok; 4 Feb 2013

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)