Thai mobile start-up Jas Mobile (Jas4G), a subsidiary of Jasmine International, is at risk of losing the 900MHz licence it won in December’s auction if it cannot secure the first instalment of the USD2.1 billion price tag alongside bank guarantees for the remainder by 21 March. The CEO of Bangkok Bank Chartsiri Sophonpanich has confirmed that Jasmine’s loan (which had been expected to cover the entire concession cost) is yet to be approved and that the bank is still considering whether to grant it, Telecom Asia reports.
Meanwhile, Siam Commercial Bank’s CEO Arthid Nanthawithaya said that the bank’s board has approved a similar loan for the other 900MHz winner True Corp but that it exceeded Bank of Thailand (BOT) lending limits and thus the bank has written to the BOT to ask for special dispensation in this case.
In related news, True Corp has confirmed a plan to raise THB60 billion (USD1.7 billion) by selling new shares in a rights offering, the Bangkok Post reports citing a regulatory filing. The proceeds from the sale will be used to ‘repay existing loans and invest in its mobile business’, following True’s double win at the 1800MHz and 900MHz auctions in November-December which have left it with a USD3.25 billion licence fee bill. It will use a combination of funds from new share sales, loans, bonds and operating cash flows to finance the payment of new licence costs, according to its statement. The quadruple-play telco is 18% owned by China Mobile, which TeleGeography says is likely to push its stake up towards the 49% foreign ownership limit via the upcoming rights issue.