Shin to Sell Thai AirAsia Stake to Airline's Managers

Shin Corp., a Thai investment company controlled by Singapore's Temasek Holdings Pte, will exit from Thai AirAsia Co. by selling its stake to the budget carrier's executives.

Shin Corp. will sell its 49 percent stake in Asia Aviation Co. for 472 million baht ($13.7 million), the company said in a release today. A Shin Corp. holding company, Asia Aviation's only investment is a 50 percent share of Thai AirAsia.

Thailand's government said in March it would like to see local management buy a stake in the airline to remove any concerns about the use of nominees by overseas investors. The government, after a coup in September, tightened ownership laws and eliminated the use of local nominees to circumvent caps on overseas ownership of local companies.

``Shin has not considered Thai AirAsia as its core business since Temasek's takeover,'' said Warut Siwasariyanon, director of research at Globlex Securities Ltd. in Bangkok. ``The sale of Thai AirAsia will help Shin concentrate on its mobile phone and satellite business.''

Shin Corp., founded by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, controls Thailand's biggest mobile-phone company, Advanced Info Service Pcl (ADVANC), and satellite operator, Shin Satellite Pcl.

Temasek, a Singapore state-owned investment company, and Thai partners last year bought 96 percent of Shin Corp. from Thaksin's family. The purchase sparked street protests and deepened a political crisis that culminated in Thaksin's ouster in a coup in September.

Tassapon Bijleveld, Thai AirAsia's chief executive officer, and five other officials of the airline will buy the stake from Shin Corp., according to the statement, filed to the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA), Southeast Asia's biggest discount airline, is the second-biggest shareholder of the Thai carrier, with a 49 percent stake.

Tassapon could not be reached on his mobile phone today.

Shin Corp.'s stock fell 0.9 percent to 27.75 baht at the 12:30 p.m. midday break in Bangkok.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anuchit Nguyen in Bangkok at anguyen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Jordan at tjordan3@bloomberg.net.

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