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Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai Demands Probe into V8 Intertrading’s Controversial Rice Auction Win

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Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai has issued a stringent ultimatum to the Public Warehouse Organisation (PWO), demanding a thorough investigation into the winning bidder of an auction for 15,000 tonnes of old rice. With rampant public speculation about the financial stability and potential political ties of the bidding victor, V8 Intertrading Co Ltd, the stakes are high, and the countdown is on.

The ministry, still holding out on official announcements, is under pressure to scrutinize V8 Intertrading Co Ltd. Amid whispers of dubious affiliations, V8 Intertrading attracted attention by placing the top bid of 19.07 baht per kilogramme, translating to an enormous 286 million baht for the entire rice lot.

Speculatively, V8 Intertrading Co Ltd, originating from Kamphaeng Phet province, is a relatively recent entrant in the business world, having been established on March 6, 2020, with a modest capital investment of merely two million baht. Initially, the company reported zero income in 2021, coupled with a net loss of 159,741.13 baht. However, in 2022, the tide seemingly turned as the company recorded an income of 2,293,623 baht and reaped a profit of 246,180 baht. At year-end, its asset value stood at 1,174,870 baht, against modest debts of 12,420 baht. This dramatic shift raised eyebrows and suspicions about the company acting as a front for a larger, unexposed entity.

Minister Phumtham, unwavering in his commitment to transparency, decreed a seven-day window for the PWO to vet the background of V8 Intertrading Co Ltd thoroughly before confirming them as the official auction winners. “If the agency isn’t confident the firm can manage the rice stock, we’ll explore alternative measures. The auction committee is obligated to abide by the terms of reference (ToR) and relevant laws. My role is to ensure nothing but transparency in this process,” assured Phumtham.

Phumtham emphasized that the ToRs mandate PWO to engage in post-auction price discussions with the potential winner. “Should the company steadfastly cling to their offered price and if it does not meet our satisfaction, we have the option to negotiate with the next highest bidder to avoid a complete auction redo,” he elaborated.

The backdrop of this rice auction is the leftover stock from the Yingluck Shinawatra administration’s infamous and controversial rice-pledging scheme. This rice stash was placed under the hammer on June 17, with Phumtham vouching for its quality, stored meticulously in Kittichai and Poolphol warehouses located in Surin.

During the auction, V8 Intertrading pitched an impressive 64 million baht for the rice stored at the Kittichai warehouse, outstripping Sahathan’s 62.73 million baht bid and Thanasan Rice’s 60.4 million baht offer. For the Poolphol warehouse, V8 Intertrading dominated the bidding war with a 222.29 million baht offer, overshadowing Thanasan Rice’s 209.84 million baht bid and Sapsaengthong Rice’s 182 million baht submission.

Ultimately, V8 Intertrading’s tallying of the highest bid price stood at 19,070 baht per tonne, equating to 19.07 baht per kilogramme. The spectacular bidding strategies and the considerable monetary values involved have now thrust the entire auction process into the limelight, adding a layer of drama and anticipation over the impending decision awaiting in the next seven days.


  1. Alice Winter June 24, 2024

    This whole situation stinks of corruption. How does a company with almost no financial history suddenly make such a massive bid?

    • economic_observer June 24, 2024

      Companies can turn around, Alice. What if they got a secret investor or a loan?

      • Sam Trumpet June 24, 2024

        Secret investor? Sounds shady. Transparent companies don’t operate like that.

    • Liam K. June 24, 2024

      It’s too big a transformation to ignore. The minister is right to demand a thorough investigation.

      • Alice Winter June 24, 2024

        Exactly, Liam! They should dig deep into who is backing V8 Intertrading.

  2. Sally M. June 24, 2024

    V8 Intertrading winning the bid is a breath of fresh air. New companies should get a chance too!

    • J.D. Smith June 24, 2024

      Sally, you’re missing the point. It’s not about them being new; it’s about their suspicious financials.

    • logical_guru June 24, 2024

      There’s merit in questioning rapid success, but we shouldn’t immediately jump to conclusions.

  3. NomadInvestor June 24, 2024

    I’m worried this might be another case of a front company being used to manipulate the market.

  4. Jake1975 June 24, 2024

    This is classic politics. The bigger players are just upset they lost the bid to a smaller company.

    • academic_thought June 24, 2024

      You could be right, Jake. However, irregular financials can’t be ignored.

    • User23 June 25, 2024

      Corruption can’t thrive without scrutiny. Better to investigate and be sure.

  5. Rhea June 24, 2024

    Anytime there’s a huge jump in financial capability like this, it raises red flags.

  6. financial_facts June 25, 2024

    It’s baffling how PWO didn’t notice these discrepancies from the start.

  7. Vivian June 25, 2024

    Minister Phumtham is only trying to push transparency. Good for him!

    • Chad W. June 25, 2024

      True! We need more leaders like him.

    • cynical_guy June 25, 2024

      Or he’s playing politics to score points. Ever think about that?

  8. freethinker001 June 25, 2024

    If V8 Intertrading is clean, this scrutiny will only legitimize them further.

  9. Alice Winter June 25, 2024

    Transparency boosts trust. If they’re legit, let the investigation clear the air.

    • Sam Trumpet June 25, 2024

      Right, Alice! And if they’re not, it exposes the rot.

  10. CuriousCat June 25, 2024

    Did anyone else notice the auction committee’s low standards?

  11. BigT June 25, 2024

    Regardless of the outcome, V8 taking such a huge risk shows confidence.

  12. Sue June 25, 2024

    I’m just concerned about the quality of rice left from the Yingluck administration.

  13. UserX June 25, 2024

    Minister’s stance is fair. But fast action and results are crucial.

  14. historian June 25, 2024

    Political ties run deep in business. This case is no different.

    • just_a_guy June 25, 2024

      True, historian. But due diligence can’t be skipped.

  15. SkepticalMind June 25, 2024

    How transparent has this process been so far?

  16. Bart June 25, 2024

    What if V8 is a front for international money laundering?

    • Penny June 25, 2024

      That’s a serious accusation, Bart. Any evidence?

      • Bart June 25, 2024

        Just speculating, but it wouldn’t be the first time.

  17. Joey June 25, 2024

    Do you think this controversy will affect future rice auctions?

  18. Erika L. June 25, 2024

    Minister’s 7-day deadline is tight. Will they find anything substantial?

  19. Sam Trumpet June 25, 2024

    Holding out on official announcements makes it seem like they’re hiding something.

  20. Investor_Frank June 25, 2024

    Investing in rice is more competitive than I thought!

  21. Rose June 25, 2024

    Wow, V8’s bid strategies are spectacular. Real pros or too good to be true?

  22. Al June 25, 2024

    The whole auction process should be public. No room for secret deals.

  23. Alice Winter June 25, 2024

    I hope the scrutiny is intensive. Any loopholes should be closed.

    • logical_guru June 25, 2024

      Agreed, Alice. Full transparency ensures public trust.

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