True Corp. Pcl, controlled by Thai billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont, 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 operates fixed-line and mobile-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, 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 invest 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 4.6 percent as of 3:57 p.m. in Bangkok, heading for the highest close since June 10. The stock has rallied 69 percent this year compared with an 8.2 percent gain in Thailand’s benchmark SET Index.
“The bourse has a clear goal to promote Thai companies to raise new capital through infrastructure funds,” Charamporn Jotikasthira, the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s president, said at media briefing today. “The fund also offers investors new alternative securities to invest their surplus cash.”
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, it said in a 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.
Charoen Pokphand Group, Dhanin’s investment arm, and its units owned 63 percent of True as of March 15, according to data on True’s website.
Dhanin has a net worth of $6.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Many of his assets are owned through closely-held holding companies that he shares with his three brothers. Dhanin’s net worth calculation excludes the stakes held by his brothers, Jaran Chiaravanont, Montri Jiaravanont and Sumet Jiaravanon.