September 28, 2018 / 11:52 AM / 18 days ago

Thailand taps equity market for $1.4 billion infrastructure fund

BANGKOK, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The government’s $1.4 billion Thailand Future Fund will open its books to potential investors on Oct. 12, the fund’s financial adviser said on Friday, ahead of what is expected to be the largest public listing since 2015.

Thailand Future Fund Infrastructure Fund (TFFIF), the trust’s full name, expects about half of the investment it attracts to be from retail investors, the Head of Capital Markets at Phatra Securities, Anuwat Ruamsuke, told reporters.

The fund’s aim is to invest in long-term projects including expressways or toll roads, railways, electricity generation and distribution, airports and deep seaports.

The books will be open until Oct. 19 and the shares will begin trading on Oct. 31.

TFFIF priced the shares on Thursday at 10 baht and expects to raise between 40 billion baht ($1.24 billion) to 44.7 billion baht ($1.38 billion), which would make it the largest public listing since Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund raised 55 billion baht in 2015.

The launch of the long-delayed infrastructure fund will provide a fundraising alternative and reduce dependency on debt for the Thai government’s infrastructure projects, an investor presentation from the State Enterprise Policy Office shows.

Proceeds of the share offer will initially be used to build two expressways, with a total estimated cost of 44.8 billion baht. The fund will own the Chalongrat and Buraphawiti expressways and receive 45 percent of revenue for 30 years.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told Reuters in June that Thailand was seeking $40 billion from private investors to upgrade its rail and road network.

Bookrunners for the fund are J.P. Morgan Securities Plc and Merrill Lynch, Phatra Securities, Finansa Securities and Krung Thai Bank. ($1 = 32.3500 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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