BTS Said to Kick Off $1.3 Billion Thai IPO of Toll-Road Fund

BTS Group Holdings Pcl (BTS), the operator of Bangkok’s sky train, has started gauging investor interest in what may be Thailand’s biggest-ever initial public offering, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

BTS plans to sell shares in a fund that will invest in railways and toll roads, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The company said in November that it would set up a fund of 50 billion baht ($1.7 billion) to 60 billion baht to acquire such assets. The fund will start trading in April, one person said.

The sale may raise as much as $1.3 billion, people familiar with the deal said in November. At that size, it would surpass Thai Oil Pcl’s October 2004 IPO, which raised 32.5 billion baht, or about $1.1 billion at current exchange rates, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

BTS will keep a one-third stake in the fund, according to a Nov. 12 presentation by the company. A spokeswoman for BTS declined to comment on the IPO.

After Thailand’s SET Index (SET) was Asia’s second-best performing benchmark in 2012 with a gain of 36 percent, the nation’s stock exchange is expecting as much as $4 billion of listings this year, the bourse’s president said in January. That would more than double the value of IPOs priced in Thailand last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The SET Index is up 11 percent this year. BTS has climbed 15 percent in Bangkok since Dec. 31, adding to last year’s 63 percent rally and giving the company a market value of 90.7 billion baht.

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