The SET-listed BTS Group Holdings Plc wants to bid for three mass-transit rail projects worth a combined 100 billion baht, of which 30 billion will be allocated from the imminent launch of its infrastructure fund.
BTS chairman Keeree Kanjanapas (second from right) and other executives discuss the BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund, the country’s first infrastructure fund and the largest IPO in SET history, at BTS headquarters yesterday. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG
Chairman Keeree Kanjanapas said the BTS, the first company to raise funds through an infrastructure fund, plans to bid for the Green Line extensions from Mor Chit to Saphan Mai and from Bearing to Samut Prakan. The Pink Line from Khae Rai to Min Buri is expected to call for bids no later than next year, while an 18-kilometre light-rail project from Bang Na to Suvarnabhumi airport is in the pipeline.
All three cost roughly 100 billion baht _ half spent by the government for civil work and the rest by the private sector to supply and operate the train system.
BTS expects to raise more than 60 billion baht from an initial public offering of the BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund (BTSGIF), the country's first infrastructure fund and the largest IPO in SET history.
The investment units are backed by the net fare box revenue of the skytrain for the remaining 17 years of the concession. BTSGIF shares will be offered within a range of 10.40 to 10.80 baht apiece and open to subscription from March 19 to April 4. The unit trusts will debut on the SET on April 19.
Mr Keeree said of the proceeds, 21 billion baht will be spent to acquire one-third of the offered fund amount, with another 10 billion slated to pay BTS's existing bonds plus interest.
"The company will use the remaining 30 billion baht as initial equity for the mass transit projects we're eyeing, with the rest covered by project financing," he said.
The government plans to invest in 10 additional rail routes with a combined distance of 508 km around Bangkok and suburbs by 2029.
With a combined track length of 32.7 km, BTS's two existing lines report annual ridership growth of 10.9% over the past 13 years of operation. If the 10 lines are built, the company expects ridership to grow by 8-9% annually over the next eight to nine years.
The light rail project is not included in the government's plans but will be handled by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. Already endorsed by parliament, the project still seeks cabinet approval for its route and environmental impact assessment.
The financial adviser for the IPO, Phatra Securities, said 60% of the 5.788 billion units have been booked by BTS and investors who have signed contracts to pay the highest price. The other 20 billion baht worth of units are available for retail investors both in Thailand and abroad.
Shares of BTS closed yesterday on the SET at 9.35 baht, down five satang, in heavy trade worth 2.3 billion baht.
About the author
- Writer: Nareerat Wiriyapong
Position: Business Reporter