Incorporated in Singapore, Summit Power International (SPI) is the largest Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Bangladesh.
BIG talks to Chairman and Founder Muhammed Aziz Khan.
SPI has been making a significant contribution to Bangladesh’s energy security for more than 20 years. How did this come about?
Before Bangladesh gained independence back in 1971, I was a young student with every intention of carving out a career for myself in one of the established professions. But immediately after the War of Liberation there was an almost complete absence of businessmen and entrepreneurs, and I ended up being sucked into that vacuum. I originally went into the import/export business, and one of the commodities we were involved with was molasses which needs to be kept at a certain temperature to stop it solidifying. The lack of a reliable source of electricity was therefore a major issue for us.
So how and when did you make the transition from import/export to power generation?
In 1995, I proposed build a power plant for the port [of Chittagong] so that it could remain operation around the clock rather than just for 7or 8 hours each day. Then the following year, the government introduced the Private Sector Generation Policy which gave us the green light for that first project. Since then we have investedalmostUS$2bn in Bangladesh’s power infrastructure.
Now that you have built Summit Power into the largest IPP in Bangladesh, you are clearly in pole position to attract inward investment into the further development of the country’s power sector. Why, firstly, should investors consider this industry as an exciting and long-term investment opportunity?
Bangladesh is just taking off with per capita income growing at1.5% per annum which is remarkable in a country where the population is growing not shrinking. And there is no other country anywhere in the world where the state is giving so much encouragement to the private sector to participate in power generation.
Secondly, why should they invest in Summit Power specifically?
What makes us stand out is the backing and support we have from all the different stakeholders in the both our own sector and the economy as a whole; the government, the banks, the media and the wider civil society. Over the years, we have gained everybody’s respect and confidence by consistently delivering more than we promise. We are in this for the long term.
Mr. Muhammed Aziz Khan is the founder of Summit Group, the largest infrastructure conglomerate in Bangladesh with investments in the power and energy sector, ports, shipping, hospitality and IT. The publicly listed companies founded by Mr. Khan are Summit Power Limited (SPL), Summit Alliance Ports Limited (SAPL) and Khulna Power Company Limited (KPCL) with a combined market capitalization of approximately Tk. 100 billion.
According to Forbes Asia, Mr. Khan and his family are among the 50 richest people in Singapore, after the Mitsubishi Corporation acquired a 25% share in Summit LNG Terminal Co Limited in 2018.
Mr. Khan is also Honorary Consul General of Finland in Bangladesh, a member of the Singapore Institute of Directors, the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC) and the Bangladesh Institute of Capital Market. He is also the Chairman of Siraj Khaleda Trust, a former President of the Bangladesh Association of Publicly Listed Companies (BAPLC) and founding President of Bangladesh Scouts Foundation.
Mr. Khan holds an MBA degree from the University of Dhaka’s Institute of Business Administration (IBA), and a Bachelor of Arts from Jaganath College which is also in Dhaka. He is married to Ms. Anjuman Aziz Khan and has three daughters, Ayesha, Adeeba and Azeeza and four grandchildren.