MitrPhol Sugar Corporation (MPSC) is a privately owned group of companies established in 1946 by the Vongkusolkit family. Mitr Pohl is now Thailand’s leading producer and exporter of sugar and the largest producer in Asia. The Vongkusolkit family collectively owns 100 percent of the company’s shares through Mid-Siam Sugar Co., Lts. Its chairman, Isara Vongkusolkit appeared as number nine on Forbes magazine’s list of Thailand’s 40 richest people in 2011, with a net worth of $1.4 billion. 1 In addition to its five mills in Thailand, MPSC has operations and investments in China, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia.2 MitrPohl is one of three top suppliers of sugar for Coca Cola.
Mitr Pohl is connected to three sugar companies operating in Oddar Meanchey; Angkor Sugar Company, Tonle Sugar Cane Company and Cane and Sugar Valley Company. A search of the directors of the three companies reveals that they are, or were, senior figures in the Thai sugar giant MitrPhol Sugar Corporation. The Director of Cane and Sugar Valley is Mitr Phol President, Krisda Monthienvichienchai; the Director of Tonle Sugar is MitrPhol Managing Director, Buntoeng Vongkusolkit; and the Director of Angkor Sugar is Tat Wanakornkul, who was Executive Vice-President of MitrPhol at the time.
The case against Mitr Pohl
In 2013, local human rights groups filed a complaint against MitrPhol to the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) on behalf of 602 families in Oddar Meanchey affected by the company’s economic land concessions for sugar production. The families accused the company of illegal land grabbing and violation of human rights. In August 2014, Niran Phitakwatchara , the Thai human rights commissioner, corroborated claims against MitrPhol during his visit to Cambodia. The NHRCT’s final report is due to be released in late 2015.
- “Thailand’s 40 Richest, #9 Isara Vongkusolkit & family,“ Forbes, 2011. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/85/thailand-billionaires-11_Isara-Vongkusolkit-family_CTBB.html. ↩
- Tris Rating, “Mitr Phol Sugar Corporation Ltd.” 26 June 2013. Available at: http://www.trisrating.com/en/pdf/announcement/MPSC43-e-260613.pdf. ↩