TSE nets B5.4bn in bank financing for solar plants

Thai Solar Energy Co Ltd (TSE) plans a listing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand this year to fund new solar projects, in line with the growth potential of the country's renewable energy.

Bangkok Bank president Chartsiri Sophonpanich (second from right) signed a loan contract with TSE chief operating officer Catherine Maleenont (second from left) last Friday to provide financing for 10 solar plants. Also at the signing were TSE chairman Pracha Maleenont (left) and BBL senior executive Decha Tulanan.

Catherine Maleenont, the chief operating officer, said the company intends to list on the SET through an initial public offering (IPO), with a financial adviser to be appointed in the first half of this year.

Proceeds will be used for business expansion, especially further investment in solar energy projects with photovoltaic (PV) technology from existing thermal solar energy.

The company last Friday signed a 5.4-billion-baht loan contract with Bangkok Bank.

The money will go to 10 PV solar plants with combined capacity of 80 megawatts in Kanchanaburi and Suphan Buri provinces.

TSE recently increased capital to support new investment. The company will spend 7 billion baht overall for renewable energy expansion.

It expects revenue of 1 billion baht a year from the new projects under a concession contract of 25 years.

"Renewable energy has high growth potential, in line with stronger demand and the government's support," said Mrs Catherine. "Under our business expansion plan, we want to secure funding to support project investment, and the capital market is one option."

She said a financial restructuring will be needed to shore up TSE's existing debt-to-equity ratio of 3:1 and reduce financial costs overall.

The company's registered capital of 1.37 billion baht may increase to 2 billion after recapitalisation.

The Maleenont family is the firm's major shareholder and wants to own at least 51% of the company after the IPO.

TSE plans to focus on PV technology instead of existing investments in thermal technology to reap better returns.

The company suspended its remaining 130 MW of production for thermal solar energy after receiving a licence for 135 MW.

About the author

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Writer: Somruedi Banchongduang
Position: Business Reporter