Exclusive: Thailand’s state-owned telecom companies look to raise $281m infra fund in 2016

Image from TOT website

Thailand’s state-owned telecom companies TOT PCL and CAT Telecom are studying the possibility of forming a 10-billion-baht (around $281 million) infrastructure fund next year.

This proposal came up after the Cabinet approved Metropolitan Electricity Authority’s project to move a 261-kilometre electricity wire underground; leading to the conclusion that the telcos’ cable-laying on the same route also needed to be underground.

The underground cable laying for the project requires an estimated investment of 7 billion baht, said TOT’s acting president Montchai Noosong.

Currently, TOT is generating an annual revenue of 400-500 million baht from renting out the cable for 25,000 kilometres, of which 20,000 kilometres is in Bangkok.

“But this still cannot meet the demand in Bangkok. Therefore, we plan to launch our infrastructure fund in the same way that the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand did, and use the proceeds from the fund to invest in cable expansion without creating more cost burden for the government,” the acting president told DEALSTREETASIA.

So far, the company is in the process of drafting a term of reference for hiring a financial advisor to evaluate the project’s possibility. It expects to make at least one  billion baht a year from renting out the underground cable initially.

Meanwhile, he said that this month the company expected to finalise on a partner for the third-generation cellular business on the 2.1 gigahertz spectrum.

TOT has about 5,320 3G base stations nationwide that it has invested for 20 billion baht, of which 11 billion baht came from bank loans.

Montchai said the potential partner has proposed to set up 11,000 3G base stations for TOT. The subsidiary of the potential partner plans to lease 80 per cent of the combined capacity of TOT’s existing base stations and the planned new base stations to offer a 3G cellular service.

If the deal is not changed, it will generate more than 3 billion baht in annual rental income for TOT.

Local media earlier reported that it was in talk with Advanced Info Service (AIS), which also had long sought arbitration over the status of its ownership of the 13,000 towers after its concession with TOT expires in September this year.

The companies are are yet to arrive at a solution for the dispute.

Also Read: Thailand’s EGAT infra fund launch in Q1 2015

Thailand SEC approves $1.7b JAS Infra fund

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.