True Corp. Pcl (TRUE), the operator of Thailand’s third-biggest mobile-phone network, plans to raise at least 70 billion baht ($2.3 billion) by selling shares in an infrastructure fund to help pay debt and fuel expansion.
The company plans to sell telecommunications towers, fiber-optic and Internet broadband networks and the rights to revenue from equipment rental to the fund, Vice Chairman Athueck Asvanund said. Bangkok-based True, which also operates fixed-line phone networks and provides high-speed Internet services, will take a 33 percent stake in the fund, he said.
The sale may be larger than the initial public offering by BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund (BTSGIF), which raised 62.5 billion baht in April, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Thailand’s government and capital market regulators have promoted the use of infrastructure fund to help companies and state agencies raise money to investment in mass transit systems, power plants and other public utilities.
“The major benefit to True Corp. will be the improvement in gearing from the asset sales to the new fund,” Chirasit Vuttigrai, an analyst at DBS Vickers Securities (Thailand) Co., said by phone. “There is still a question whether there will be incremental value from the rental of those telecom facilities to other competitors.”
True’s shares jumped 5.7 percent as of 12:30 p.m. in Bangkok, heading for the highest close since June 10. The stock has rallied 70 percent this year compared with an 8.1 percent gain in Thailand’s benchmark SET Index. (SET)
True will pay as much as 55 billion baht to the fund to lease back telecommunication towers, fiber-optic networks, equipment and other facilities that it needs to operate its business, according to the statement.
True has total debt of 111.5 billion baht, of which about 99 billion baht will mature between 2017 and 2023, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
To contact the reporter on this story: Anuchit Nguyen in Bangkok at email@example.com