A THAILAND joint venture company will build a US$2.4 billion refinery from funds raised in Hongkong. Rayong Refinery Co, with a registered share capital of $900 million, was set up to build and operate Thailand's fourth refinery. The Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT), under the Ministry of Industry, will have a 36 per cent stake in Rayong. The remaining 64 per cent is held by Shell, with 60 per cent of it owned by Dutch interests and 40 per cent by British. Rayong managing director B. Lotgering said in Hongkong yesterday that the project's total investment would be $2.4 billion, of which $1.5 billion would be financed by a syndicated loan arranged by Chase Manhattan Bank (Hongkong). The project finance, arranged by the bank's merchant banking arm Chase Manhattan Asia, is fully underwritten by 23 banks. A roadshow has been held in London and Hongkong, and one will be held in Tokyo tomorrow. Mr Lotgering said the refinery, which could begin operation in the first half of 1996, would produce 145,000 barrels of petroleum products daily. The current demand in Thailand is 500,000 barrels a day. PTT's corporate finance assistant governor Viroj Mavichak said Thailand's three existing refineries produced a combined 300,000 barrels of oil a day. The 40 per cent shortfall was imported, he said. Shell already has a 15 per cent interest in another refinery, in which PTT has a 50 per cent stake and Caltex five per cent. The rest is shared among private investors.