BTS Group Said to Kick Off $1.3 Billion Thailand IPO of Fund

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- BTS Group Holdings Pcl, 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 is selling shares in an infrastructure fund whose main asset will be a concession for the sky train, according to a filing yesterday by the company. The fund will start trading in April, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The offering 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 and will use proceeds from the sale to invest in other infrastructure, according to a Nov. 12 presentation by the company. A spokeswoman for BTS declined to comment on the IPO.

After Thailand’s SET Index 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. The stock was little changed at 8.20 baht today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce Koh in Singapore at jkoh38@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net