Singapore’s state investment holding company Temasek is moving ahead with a plan to lower its stake in Thai communications group Shin Corp, parent of cellco Advanced Info Services (AIS), from more than 96% to 49% via an IPO to comply with local regulations, but has not yet decided on a timeframe, according to a company statement reported by Reuters. Under Stock Exchange of Thailand regulations, listed companies must maintain a free float of at least 15%, but following its USD3.8 billion takeover of Shin in 2006 Temasek was allowed an unspecified time to meet the requirement by unloading stock to Thai investors. Temasek’s shares in Shin are held through a nominee structure to keep direct foreign shareholdings under the 49% legal limit, and the firm had put IPO plans on hold pending a probe on whether the new ownership structure was legitimate. ‘The company and its major shareholders have to carefully observe and closely monitor the global investment community and overall market sentiment in Thailand in order to conduct a successful offering of the company’s shares in the future,’ yesterday’s statement from Shin read, adding that it had now appointed a legal adviser for the proposed public offering.
Via holdings in two Thai-registered companies, Temasek controls more than 96% of Shin Corp, which following restructuring is now valued at around USD2.4 billion. Though it comprises more than 20 companies in the wireless, satellite, internet and media sectors, GSM mobile operator AIS contributes more than 80% of the Thai group’s profits. AIS is owned by Shin (43%) and SingTel Strategic Investments (21%) with the remainder distributed. Shin is owned by Cedar Holdings (54.5%) and Aspen Holdings (41.75%), with the rest distributed. Temasek owns all the shares in Aspen, 49% of Cedar, as well as 54% of SingTel.