Advanced Info Service Plc (AIS), Thailand’s biggest mobile phone operator, plans to expand its network by acquiring Triple T Broadband Plc and an infrastructure fund for a total of 32.4 billion baht.
The company will buy internet provider Triple T from Jasmine International Plc for 19.5 billion baht, Chief Financial Officer Tee Seeumpornroj said in an exchange filing. It will also acquire 1.52 billion units, or a 19% stake, in Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund for 12.9 billion baht. At 8.50 baht a unit, that is a 10.5% discount to the fund’s closing price Friday.
The investment will be financed by debt, Mr Tee said in an analyst call.
“This acquisition will enhance consumer access to broader and better quality of service by improving broadband inclusion in new areas targeting the upcountry and non-city areas,” Mr Tee said. “This aligns with our business direction to grow the broadband business and effectively develop the nation’s fibre infrastructure.”
AIS, whose major shareholders include Temasek Holdings Pte, said it will finance the acquisitions with borrowings, given its “sufficient debt headroom.” The company pledged to maintain a dividend payout of at least 70% of its net income.
The move comes as Telenor ASA bids to merge its Thai telecommunications unit with True Corp and potentially topple Advanced Info as the country’s biggest mobile operator. AIS’s backers include billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi, while True is backed by billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont’s Charoen Pokphand Group and China Mobile Ltd.
AIS said the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed in the first quarter next year.
Thai telecommunication shares were up on Monday, with AIS gaining 1.77% at 0900 GMT, while True was up 0.43%. DTAC and JAISF shares fell 0.56% and 4.74%, respectively.
Those compared with a 0.67% decline in the benchmark index .