Thailand's PTT Oil and Retail to invest in Indonesian unicorn Traveloka

PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company Limited (OR) has reached an agreement to invest in Indonesian travel platform Traveloka, per an announcement.

The value of the potential investment was not disclosed. OR said the investment will be made through its subsidiary PTTOR International Holdings (Singapore) Pte Ltd.

By expanding into the travel sector, OR expects to develop a one-stop solution for all lifestyle offerings on its platform, after having invested aggressively in technology alongside its core energy and retail businesses.

“The travel sector is an area of focus for OR as tourism is one of the major economic contributors to the Thai economy,” said Jiraphon Kawswat, president and CEO of OR.

She believes that this sector in both Thailand and Southeast Asia will rebound quickly due to post-pandemic recovery in travel demand.

“This collaboration will also provide growth opportunities to both OR and Traveloka in the domestic and international markets in accordance with OR’s strategy to focus on outside-in growth, as both OR and Traveloka seek new investment opportunities together with partners to provide more solutions to address customers’ needs,” Kawswat said.

In addition, the tourism industry employs a large portion of the Thai population, and many Thai SMEs are reliant on this segment. Kawswat said the partnership with Traveloka will create new opportunities for local SMEs and individual stakeholders in the sector to grow.

The investment “can also provide additional venues for OR’s existing partners and business alliances to grow together with OR and to deliver greater offerings and experiences to OR customers”, she added.

Meanwhile, Ferry Unardi, co-founder and CEO of Traveloka, expects there will be immense value from the collaboration as Southeast Asia is growing at a rapid pace, leading to greater opportunities in the tourism industry.

OR is among the most active Thai corporates in terms of investing into technology and innovation. It has backed Thailand’s first unicorn, Flash Express.

The company has also set aside 19.1 billion baht ($570 million) for venture capital investments over the next five years, DealStreetAsia reported earlier this year.

In October 2021, OR partnered with 500 Global to launch ORZON Ventures, a venture capital fund to support Series A-B startups in both Thailand and other regional markets.

Meanwhile, DealStreetAsia has also reported that Traveloka was in talks with investment management company BlackRock and others for a funding round of more than $200 million.

The travel unicorn had explored the SPAC option to list overseas, but the plan did not finally come through.

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