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True to Buy Hutchison’s Thai Units to Expand Network

True Corp., Thailand’s third-largest mobile-phone operator, will acquire Hutchison Telecommunications Investment Ltd.’s units in the Southeast Asian nation to expand its wireless network.

True’s Real Move Co. and Real Future Co. units will pay 4.35 million baht ($144,000) for controlling stakes in four units of Hutchison, the Bangkok-based company said in a filing today. Real Future will also lend as much as 6.3 billion baht to Hutchison’s BFKT (Thailand) Co. to help repay its debt, according to the statement.

The mobile-phone carrier is spending more on expanding its reach as it competes against larger rivals Advanced Info Service Pcl and Total Access Communication Pcl to win subscribers. True plans to invest as much as 4 billion baht annually between 2011 and 2013 to expand its wireless network, Chief Executive Officer Supachai Chearavanont said on Nov. 22.

The acquisitions will “allow the company to utilize the network infrastructure, increase customer base and business growth rate,” True said in the statement.

True shares fell 0.7 percent to 7.15 baht at the 12:30 p.m. trading break in Bangkok. The stock has more than doubled this year compared with a 41 percent climb by the benchmark SET Index.

-- Editors: Suresh Seshadri, Garry Smith.

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