Gulf Energy—controlled by billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi—has agreed to buy a 49% stake in a U.S. power plant from Japan’s Electric Power Development in its maiden investment in the U.S. electricity market.
The Bangkok-based company will pay about $410 million for the minority stake in Jackson Generation, which operates a 1,200-megawatt gas-fired power plant in Illinois. The facility started commercial operations in May and supplies electricity to the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection grid, Gulf Energy said in a regulatory filing on Friday.
The investment is aligned with the company’s commitment to enhance energy security through the provision of reliable, low-cost electricity that supports the transition to low-carbon emissions, Gulf Energy said. “The company will be able to recognize profits immediately since Jackson Generation has already begun commercial operations,” Gulf Energy CFO Yupapin Wangviwat said in a statement. The company is also looking at potential investments in renewable energy across Europe and Asia, Yupapin said last month as the company announced its second-quarter results.
Founded by Sarath in 2007, Gulf Energy has grown to become Thailand’s biggest private power generation company. Apart from building its energy business overseas, the company has been diversifying into new businesses.
Last year, it increased stakes in InTouch Holdings and its wireless unit Advanced Info Service. In January, the company partnered with billionaire Changpeng Zhao’s Binance—the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by volume—to build a digital asset exchange platform in Thailand. With a net worth of $11.1 billion, Sarath ranks No. 4 in the list of Thailand’s 50 Richest that was published in July.