The management board of Thai quadruple-play telecoms group True Corp has decided to move forward with a previously proposed plan to establish and publicly list an infrastructure fund, through which it aims to raise at least THB70 billion (USD2.25 billion). Reuters quotes chief financial officer Noppadol Dej-Udom as saying that a stock market listing will be carried out by the end of this year as part of a plan to slash debts by around 70%, which also includes proposals to sell non-core assets for about THB5 billion. ‘This will help improve our financial position. After that, we will go ahead with plans to seek a business partner,’ he added, referring to the debts built up as True has invested heavily to roll out 3G and 4G mobile infrastructure, while the domestically-owned group has repeatedly said it intends to find a foreign investment partner to allow it to continue expansion and increase competitive pressure on its two main cellular rivals AIS and DTAC which both have larger mobile customer bases. Noppadol said that reducing the loss-making company’s debt pile from THB100 million to THB30 billion would represent a ‘reasonable’ level for financial management.
True Corp’s new infrastructure fund plan involves selling assets including wireless towers and fibre-optic network infrastructure to the fund before leasing them back. True Corp intends to own one-third of the fund’s share units with the remaining two-thirds publicly owned. True has hired Credit Suisse to advise on the planned listing, although the sale of assets to the infrastructure fund must first be approved at a shareholders meeting on 12 September.