Gulf Energy Development Plc. (GULF) reported the financial results for Q4/22 with a core profit of THB 3,593 million, an increase of THB 865 million or 32% Year-over-Year (YoY). The growth was primarily driven by Gulf Sriracha’s (GSRC) IPP power project units 3-4, which began commercial operation in March and October 2022, respectively, with a total installed power generation capacity of 1,325 MW. Consequently, all four units of GSRC are now fully operational. A further attribution to Q4/22’s core profit is the THB 1,085 million share of core profit from INTUCH. In addition, in December 2022, GULF divested its 50.01% equity stake in BKR2 Holding, a holding company for the Borkum Riffgrund 2 (BKR2) offshore wind power project in Germany, to Keppel Group, resulting in a THB 381 million gain on the sale. The net profit for Q4/22 amounted to THB 5,406 million, a 78% YoY increase from THB 3,043 million in Q4/21.
In 2022, GULF’s total revenue was THB 101,397 million, a 92% increase from THB 52,870 million in 2021, and core profit was THB 12,098 million, a 37% increase from THB 8,812 million in 2021. The growth was driven by the commercial operation commencement of GSRC power project units 3-4, totaling 1,325 MW, in March and October 2022, as well as the commercial operation commencement of an additional 155 MW of the gas-fired power project DIPWP in Oman, bringing the total to 195 MW. Another factor is the improved performance of the BKR2 offshore wind power project in Germany as a result of rising average electricity selling prices, which nearly doubled from €184/MWh to €352/MWh in Q3/22, as well as an increase in the average wind speed from 8.5 m/s in 2021 to 9.1 m/s in 2022. Additionally, in 2022, GULF also recognized share of core profit of THB 324 million from three wind power plant projects under Gulf Gunkul Corporation, in which GULF made an investment in July 2022. Furthermore, GULF recognized share of core profit from INTUCH and profit from the acquisition of THCOM totaling THB 4,656 million.
The gross profit margin for 2022 was 20.6%, a decrease from 27.6% in 2021, due to the spike in average natural gas costs by 86% YoY, from 266.02 THB/MMBTU in 2021 to 494.78 THB/MMBTU in 2022, while the average Ft rate rose by a mere 0.5518 THB/kWh (from -0.1532 THB/kWh in 2021 to an average of 0.3986 THB/kWh in 2022). However, since 86% of GULF’s electricity is sold to Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), and passes on the natural gas costs to EGAT, while only 14% of GULF’s electricity is being sold to industrial users, the impact of the sharp rise in the natural gas costs is limited.
Net profit attributable to the parent company in 2022, which takes into account the impact from FX rate, was THB 11,418 million, as a result of the Thai Baht depreciating against the US Dollar from 33.59 THB/USD at the end of 2021 to 34.73 THB/USD at the end of 2022. Nonetheless, the recording of such transaction is an accounting transaction, which does not impact the cash flow and performance of the Company.
GULF had a net interest-bearing debt to equity ratio of 1.56 times as of December 31, 2022, a decrease from 1.77 times as of December 31, 2021, due to GULF’s improved performance, which is reflected in the shareholders’ equity. GULF also received €305 million from the divestment of BKR2 Holding’s equity stake in December 2022.
Ms. Yupapin Wangviwat, Chief Financial Officer, GULF, revealed, “In 2023, the total revenue is anticipated to increase approximately 50%, which will be driven by the projects that are scheduled for commercial operation in 2023, mainly the commercial operation of the second IPP project under IPD, namely, Gulf Pluak Daeng (GPD) IPP power project units 1-2, totaling 1,325 MW, and the 1,200-MW Jackson Generation power project in the United States. Moving forward, GULF will focus on the investment of renewable energy businesses in order to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions with the aim to increase the proportion of renewable energy from 9% currently to 40% within the next 10 years through the development of hydropower projects, domestic renewable energy projects, solar rooftop projects, together with the investment in solar farms and wind farms overseas including England, other European countries, and the United States. Regarding the Pak Beng and Pak Lay hydropower projects, the power purchase agreement with EGAT is expected to be signed within Q1/23.”
“For the digital asset exchange business in Thailand in which GULF and Binance has a joint investment, we have applied for the digital asset exchange license and the securities brokerage license with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The licenses are expected to be granted within Q1/23. As for the data center business that GULF jointly develops with Singtel and AIS, construction is scheduled to start in mid-2023, with commercial operations commencing in 2025. Moreover, GULF is exploring the virtual banking business to expand the digital infrastructure business. In December 2022, GULF acquired a 41.13% stake in THCOM from INTUCH, as we foresee an opportunity to expand the satellite business into the era of the New Space Economy, namely, the use of information from satellite images for natural resource management, or the assessment of carbon storage and carbon credits in community forests, as well as the low earth orbit satellite,” Ms. Yupapin added.
In January 2023, TRIS Rating Co., Ltd. upgraded the company rating on GULF to “A+” from “A” and upgraded the rating on GULF’s debentures to “A” from “A-” rating. In Q1/23, GULF plans to issue additional debentures of approximately THB 15,000-20,000 million to repay existing loans, support business expansion, and for working capital.
Additionally, the Board of Directors has resolved to propose to the 2023 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders to consider and approve the dividend payment from the Company’s operating results for the year ended December 31, 2022, to shareholders at the rate of THB 0.60/share or equivalent to the dividend payout ratio of 151%. The date to determine the names of the shareholders who would be entitled to the dividend (Record Date) is on March 2, 2023, with the dividend payment date on April 27, 2023. The ex-dividend date (XD) is on March 1, 2023, while the 2023 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders is to be held on April 5, 2023.