October 12, 2018 / 10:15 AM / 7 days ago

Thailand's Shinawatra-owned Praram 9 Hospital IPO priced at top end of range

BANGKOK, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Praram 9 Hospital Pcl, linked to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, is set to raise 2.2 billion baht ($67 million) after pricing its initial public offering of shares at the top end of target range, its financial adviser Phatra Securities said on Friday.

The IPO was priced at the top end of the 10.60-11.60 baht range, giving it a trailing PE of 34 times against peer average of 23 times. The shares will start trading on Oct. 30.

Proceeds from the IPO will be used for facility upgrades and for developing a new wing, the company said in a filing.

The hospital counts Thaksin’s former wife, Potjaman Damapong, and their three children as major shareholders, together holding a nearly 40 percent stake in the hospital after the shares float, filings showed.

The Shinawatra clan and its business dealings have been in the focus in Thai politics for over a decade.

In 2006, Thaksin was ousted in a coup following protests over the sale of Shin Corp, later renamed InTouch Holdings , to Singapore’s Temasek and he now lives in self-exile. In 2014, a coup removed his sister, former prime minister Yingluck, from office.

The country is divided between supporters of Thaksin and the royalist pro-military establishment.

The hospital’s IPO comes ahead of general elections slated for next year and appears “insulated” from politics, says a fund manager who declined to be named.

On Wednesday, courts granted bail to Thaksin’s son and a shareholder of Param 9 Hospital, Panthongtae Shinawatra, after indicting him for money laundering and ordered him not to leave the country without permission.

“Investor focus may be tilted more in favour of the business upside and future growth than on possible political concerns attached to prominent shareholders,” Jay Harriman, senior director at BowerGroupAsia said.

Shareholders like billionaire Santi Bhirombahkdi, the owner of Boon Rawd Brewery, makers of Singha Beer, also mitigated political risk, analysts say.

Other Shinawatra-owned companies in Thailand include real estate developer SC Asset where Thaksin’s two daughters and ex-wife together hold stakes of over 60 percent. ($1 = 32.7200 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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