Thai telecoms group Jasmine International saw its plans for launching a USD2.2 billion infrastructure fund inch closer yesterday when the Nonthaburi Provincial Court rejected a lawsuit from Jasmine’s former subsidiary, provincial fixed line operator TT&T, which had sought to block Jasmine’s Acumen unit from selling shares (or pledging/creating security to shares) in broadband operator Triple T Broadband (TTTB), which was formerly jointly-owned by Jasmine and TT&T. Jasmine aims to include the assets of TTTB in its planned fund listing, while TT&T had lodged a court case against Acumen in an attempt to enforce a previous shareholders agreement (dating back to 2006) which would oblige Acumen to sell new shares held in TTTB back to TT&T shareholders. The case has not been concluded yet, however. A disclosure from TT&T to the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) reads: ‘[on 9 September 2014] the Court announced the dismissal of the petition [from TT&T] for an injunctive relief since the Infrastructure Fundamental Fund is yet to be approved and it is uncertain that the transactions shall occur or immediately occur or occur in the near future. Hence, the injunctive relief is not obligatory now.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that in September 2006 the cash-strapped TT&T reduced its holding in TTTB from 99.99% to 9.09%, with Jasmine International, at the time TT&T’s largest investor, taking the lion’s share before the group’s Acumen unit increased its TTTB shareholding to around 99% in a rights issue in 2009, while TT&T retained a sub-1% stake in TTTB. TT&T itself has distributed ownership, but remains under a rehabilitation plan begun in 2011 for THB26 billion (USD820 million) in debt. Former controlling shareholder Jasmine International no longer has significant influence in TT&T, retaining a roughly 1% stake in the provincial telco (since 2011).
The Bangkok Post notes that TT&T has claimed that Acumen should sell 70% of its shares in TTTB to TT&T because TTTB failed to list itself on the SET within three years of the September 2006 agreement, while the newspaper today quotes an industry analyst as saying that the latest court news is a good sign for Jasmine’s infrastructure fund. Reuters reports that Jasmine’s share price rose 8% following the favourable decision.