True’s infrastructure fund launched

28 Nov 2013

Thai telecoms and pay-TV group True Corp has launched the True Telecommunications Growth Infrastructure Fund (TRUEGIF), which it said will invest in the ownership of and the right to benefit from the revenues generated by telecom towers, a core fibre-optic network and related transmission equipment, and a broadband access system located in provincial areas of Thailand. True’s CFO Noppadol Dej-Udom heralded TRUEGIF as the first telecoms infrastructure fund in Thailand, adding in a statement that the initiative supports the government’s infrastructure sharing policy by reducing redundant network investments. True is transferring certain assets – and rights to benefit from the net revenues from certain assets – to TRUEGIF. In addition, True will continue to use, operate, or, as applicable, lease as the anchor tenant of, certain telecom infrastructure assets, and manage the assets of which the net revenues will be sold to TRUEGIF. True will subscribe to at least 18% in aggregate of TRUEGIF fund units.

True confirmed that the assets to be invested in by TRUEGIF include the ownership of 6,000 telecom towers, 5,112km of core fibre-optics, related transmission equipment and 1.2 million ports in True’s provincial broadband access network (excluding its broadband access network in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area which was rolled out under a build-transfer-operate revenue-sharing agreement, TeleGeography notes). However, the fund’s assets also include the right to benefit from net revenues generated from the lease of 5,845 telecom towers and 47,250km core fibre-optics and related transmission equipment, as well as the potential to own certain leased assets that can be sold or transferred to TRUEGIF under designated conditions and timelines. The total telecom infrastructure assets involved support mobile services covering approximately 95% of Thailand’s population, while the total fibre-optic grid involved covers 73 provinces. The fund also has high potential to generate additional income from co-location tenancies by leasing spare capacity to other telecom operators, while investors would be expecting stable benefits via True’s contract to use, operate, maintain and manage the telecom infrastructure assets transferred to TRUEGIF for more than ten years, the release stated.

SCB Asset Management (SCBAM) is acting as the management company of TRUEGIF, and once it receives approval from the Thai stock exchange regulator, it will proceed with the offering of investment units of TRUEGIF to raise funds from the general public, before officially establishing TRUEGIF as a mutual fund. The financial advisor of the fund is Siam Commercial Bank.

Thailand, True Corp