Singtel raises stake in Thai subsidiary Intouch in $216m deal

Photo by Keiichiro Asahara

Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) on Thursday proposed to raise its stake in Thailand-headquartered subsidiary Intouch Holdings from 21.21% to 24.99% by acquiring an additional 3.78% stake from Temasek’s wholly-owned subsidiary Anderton Investments.

As part of the transaction, Singtel, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Singtel Global Investment, will pay S$330 million ($216 million) in cash for some 121.16 million shares in Intouch Holdings.

This represents a 5% discount to the volume weighted average price of each Intouch share on the Stock Exchange of Thailand calculated for 20 trading days before the date of the share purchase agreement, and about 2.04% of Singtel and its subsidiaries’ latest audited net tangible assets as of Mar 31.

Intouch is the parent company of Advanced Info Services (AIS), a regional associate of Singtel since 1999 and also Thailand’s largest mobile phone operator. AIS has been seeing strong growth in its enterprise business with the surge in demand for cloud, data centre and ICT solutions.

Singtel and Thailand Stock Exchange-listed Gulf Energy are the two largest shareholders of Intouch.

One of Thailand’s biggest power producers in market value, Gulf Energy, is controlled by billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi. The company had announced its plans to buy the shares it does not own in Intouch for THB169 billion ($4.8 billion) in April.

Temasek held a 52.47% stake in Singtel as of March 31 2022, comprising a direct interest in 8.30 billion shares and a deemed interest in some 0.36 billion shares.

Thus, the acquisition constitutes an interested person transaction under SGX’s listing manual rules.

Singtel Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon said the telco’s increased investment in Intouch “is part of our strategy of actively recycling capital to invest for growth and shareholder returns”.

He added that the move is also set to deepen Singtel’s partnership with Gulf Energy and strengthen its presence in Thailand.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of June.

As of May 12, the telco had invested over S$9.31 billion across seven acquisitions and 40 investments in multiple sectors such as social platforms, adtech and mobile advertising, according to its website.

Shares in Singtel were trading 0.4% down at S$2.49, as of 1.09 pm SGT.

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