Billionaire mulls what may be Thailand’s largest IPO in 2019


BANGKOK: Asset World Corp will start gauging foreign investor demand for what could be one of Thailand’s biggest initial public offerings this year after the nation’s securities regulator approved the sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

The property arm of billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the nation’s fourth-richest person, will meet investors in Singapore this week after kicking off with potential Thai investors on Aug 23, said the people, who asked not to be identified. The developer of hotels, shopping malls and office buildings aims to raise US$1 billion to $1.5bn, they said.

With such a fundraising target, Asset World would be the biggest IPO in Thailand since Thailand Future Fund’s $1.4bn IPO last year. The company’s new share sale will help finance its business expansion, particularly the construction of new hotels, it said in June.

Details of the share sale including timeline and fundraising size could still change, the people said. Asset World’s Chief Executive Officer Wallapa Traisorat couldn’t be reached for comment after calls to her office. And an external representative for Asset World didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Thailand’s largest IPO on record was that of BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund, which raised $2.1bn in 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Companies have raised $720 million in Thai IPOs this year, up from the $406mn raised in the same period last year. The planned share sales by Asset World and Central Group could make 2019 a busy year for IPOs in Thailand, with political risk eased after a March national election.

The Securities & Exchange Commission approved Asset World’s IPO on Aug 23, more than two months after it submitted the application, according to the regulator’s website. Mr Charoen’s net worth is valued at $17.6bn, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on August 27, 2019 by Bangkok Post

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