Foreigners may get chance to invest in TFFIF units

Foreigners may get chance to invest in TFFIF units

The government is likely to let foreign investors plough money into the Thailand Future Fund (TFFIF), a state-backed infrastructure fund, amid strong interest.

TFFIF's return of 5-6% has caught foreigners' attention because such returns are considered high in a low-interest-rate environment, said Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana.

TFFIF's initial public offering, which raised funds worth 44.7 billion baht in October 2018, received an overwhelming response from the public, prompting the government to consider issuance of a new batch of units.

TFFIF, which is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, is backed by 45% of future revenue from the Chalong Rat Expressway and the Burapha Withi Expressway, both owned by the Expressway Authority of Thailand.

To pave the way for foreign investment, the government infrastructure fund's size must be large enough, said Prapas Kong-Ied, director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office.

The office is considering which of the government's infrastructure projects will be used as underlying assets for the second batch of TFFIF, he said, adding that brownfield projects are expected to be used to back the new fund.

Meanwhile, Mr Prapas estimated that more than 100 billion baht worth of state enterprises' investment budget would be doled out during the January-to-March quarter.

Of the total, 45.8 billion baht is expected to be taken out by parent state enterprises and 65.1 billion baht by subsidiaries, he said.

In 2020, 45 state enterprises have a combined investment budget of 345 billion baht. The government is ramping up state enterprise investment as the country's economy falters. This fiscal year's state budget spending has been delayed for months from its regular schedule on Oct 1, 2019.

State enterprises' infrastructure megaprojects include the Sino-Thai high-speed railway, the Red Line electric train route, double-track rail, the Orange Line electric train's eastern section linking Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri, Suvarnabhumi airport's expansion, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand's Bang Pakong power plant and the Provincial Electricity Authority's transmission and distribution system development.

TFFIF units closed yesterday on the SET at 12.30 baht, up 20 satang, in trade worth 30.6 million baht.

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