Boon probed for THG purchases

Boon probed for THG purchases

The spouse of Dr Boon bought many shares of THG.
The spouse of Dr Boon bought many shares of THG.

Thailand's stock and securities authorities are preparing to investigate irregular trading transactions by the head of Thonburi Healthcare Group (THG), Dr Boon Vanasin, prior to an announcement by the hospital it would make a major purchase of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines.

THG clarified to the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) the company would sign a contract to buy 20 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines yesterday and is in the process of filing related documents to overseas dealers.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) securities and derivatives holding reports (Form 59), required when executives trade their own shares, Jaruwan Vanasin, Dr Boon's spouse, reportedly purchased 950,000 THG shares in eight separate transactions during July 2-13, at prices ranging from 28.50 to 29.50 baht per share. This was before Dr Boon disclosed to BBC Thai the company is purchasing 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccines from BioNTech on July 14.

THG's share price spiked 13% since the news was published on July 15. The stock continued to rise before closing at 32 baht, up 1.59% on Friday.

Pakorn Peetathawatchai, president of the SET, said the bourse is monitoring all securities trading as usual. The SET has a process to detect and report any irregular transactions that diverge from normal conditions or violate the law, he said.

If such transactions are detected, the SET proceeds with legal action in accordance with its mandate, said Mr Pakorn.

"Investors should follow news from reliable sources and take into account the fundamentals of listed companies before making investment decisions," he said.

SEC assistant secretary-general Archinee Pattamasukhon said the regulator is collaborating with the SET to investigate the irregular transactions. If any abnormality is found in share price movements, the SET will collect preliminary data for an in-depth review by the SEC, she said.

If the SET and SEC find THG's top executives have intentionally hoarded the stocks prior to the disclosure of important information to the public, the regulator will consider such transactions illegal insider trading. The SEC would then take legal action against the company and related entities, Ms Archinee said.

In its SET statement, THG insists the stock trades are genuine and it will notify the SET again if a clear import period is agreed upon.

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