Khonburi Sugar Public Co. Ltd. (KBS) is introducing high technology to enhance its capacity and diversify its products. With a major goal towards sustainable growth, the company will emerge as a comprehensive leader of sugar business. Currently, a plan for a new sugar refinery of 12,000-ton production capacity per day is being formulated under investment budget of over 3,000 million Thai Baht. Once completed, the factory will have production capacity of 1-1.2 million tons a year. Also, KBS is ready to invest for a new electricity generation plant under one billion Thai Baht budget. Located in Si Khiew District, Nakhon Ratchasima, the new electricity generation plant, to be completed in December this year, will have 18-megawatt production capacity.
The executive director of KBS Mr. Issara Twiltermsup revelealed that, in 2020, the company had a policy to enhance capacity of the sugar production and sale group and relate the business to another relevant one so that the income port is balanced and sustainably grows, thus emphasizing the company’s integrated business on sugar production.
In terms of sugar business plans, KBS will benefit its expert to enhance capacity on sugar extraction and use high production technology to add more values to its products. After investing on sugar silo conditioning to reduce coagulation, the company could improve diverse products with good quality to correspond with increasing global prices of sugar. Such investment covers raw sugar, rice-bran color sugar, white sugar, purified white sugar and sucralose mixed sugar to serve the needs of general consumers and rice-bran producers in Thailand and Asian countries.
At present, KBS has a total of 35,000-ton production capacity per day. In the production season of 2018/2019, 3,298,841.44 tons of cane were used to produce a total of 3,726,503.85 sacks of all types of sugar. The number is equal to 112.96 kgs. of sugar per a ton of cane. In the production season of 2019/2020, after 4 December 2019 until now, 1,400,000 million tons of cane were were compressed for sugar production of 1,484,000 sacks, equivalent to 105.96 kgs. of sugar per a ton of cane.
In addition, KBS features supply-chain business management by product stabilization, promotion of plantation knowledge and harvesting among farmer contractors so that cane of good quality is sent to refineries. Also, to add more business values, high technology was used to increase quality and diversify sugar products under the KBS’ brand to serve all needs of customers. In doing so, the benefits will strengthen related business, hence highlighting the company as the leading sugar manufacturer.
Mr. Issara said that KBS also had a plan to invest in a new sugar refinery with production capacity of 12,000 tons per day besides business expansion regarding organic fertilizer and biomass electricity generation plant. The latter will be operated by Khonburi Power Plant (KPP), where 99.99% of share belong to the KBS. Located in Si Khiew district in Nakhon Ratchasima, the new power plant is being constructed. It will have electricity production capacity of 18 megawatt. If combined with the existing one, both can generate a total of 73 megawatt of electricity, 22 megawatt of which will be provided to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and 16 megawatt to the Provincial Electricity Authority.
Now, the global amount of sugar tends to decrease. Nevertheless, the current virus pandemic does not impact on sugar export to China, but sugar hoarding for domestic consumption is common. Also, sugar consumption does not have any problems concerning the pandemic since most products are generally sent to factories. At present, the Cane and Sugar Office of Thailand fixed the price of white sugar at 17.25 Thai Baht per kilo and purified white one at 18.25 Thai Baht per kilo.
“I know that this summer is the hottest and driest season of the last 40 years, but we have to try to reduce capital costs to get through the crisis as cane and sugar business still suffers from drought. Although the problem is better this year thanks to humidity, we still changed a plan on cane growing for our farmer under contract by delaying the period from the final of last year to the upcoming April,” explained Mr. Issara.
Even so, the KBS still focuses on sugar business which is the major business with 78% proportion as it is the business the company is specialized. The other 11% includes the trading of molasses while an investment plan for ethanol factory construction was already slowed down. For the KBS, ethanol production is not its specialization and ethanol produced in Thailand is a lot sufficient. At the same time, when the hybrid technology is introduced, ethanol is not worth investing. Yet, the plan can be revised in case the government seriously promote it. Furthermore, the KBS has a plan to establish a mutual fund on infrastructure of Khonburi power plants worth no more than 2,800 million Thai Baht to fundraise for an investment of a new sugar refinery and a biomass electricity generating plant.