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Mon, Jun 28, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Thailand plans to privatize mass communications

AFP , BANGKOK

The state-owned Mass Communication Organization of Thailand (MCOT) plans to privatize up to 25 percent of the company through an initial public offering in October, local media said yesterday.

The Nation newspaper said MCOT was aiming to raise US$171 million through the IPO to fund its satellite television company Global TV Network.

MCOT reportedly plans to register its status as a public company on July 31 at which point it will have US$73 million dollars in registered capital, consisting of 600 million shares with a par value of 5 baht (US$0.12) each. Shares will be priced at 35 baht (US$0.84) each for the IPO.

The Thai media giant plans to expand the reach of Channel 9 -- which it operates -- to 12 countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India the US and three Scandinavian countries.

It said proceeds left over from the expansion would be directed towards the Thai government's push to make the kingdom a regional media center.

The sale would mark the first of its type under new state-agency regulations for IPOs approved in April.

Pornpimol Churuphant, director of Thailand's State Enterprise Development Office told the daily that foreign investment would be limited to 15 percent of shares and no subscriber would be allowed to buy more than 5 percent of total shares on offer.

"We have tried to make this share offering as transparent as possible," Pornpimol was quoted as saying.

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