Q+A - How will Thai election outcome affect listed companies?

BANGKOK Mon Jul 4, 2011 10:13pm EDT

Related Topics

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's opposition Puea Thai Party scored a landslide election victory on Sunday and the scale of its win suggests there could be some respite in a six-year political crisis.

Here is a look at some likely winners and losers from the economic policy of Puea Thai Party.

WHICH SECTORS WILL WIN FROM POPULIST POLICIES?

Puea Thai plans easier access to credit, social benefits and price subsidies that should spur consumption. This should benefit retail and property sectors.

Top convenience store chain CP All, whose shares jumped more than 4 percent on Monday morning, retailer Big C Supercenter, Siam Makro and building materials supplier Home Product Center should benefit.

In the property sector, Puea Thai promises zero-percent, five-year mortgages, exemption from transfer and mortgage fees and a 50 percent cut in business tax for first homes priced below 4 million baht ($130,000).

If the policies are implemented, property firms will benefit from both higher demand and lower costs. Top homebuilder Land & Houses is among the top picks.

Developers that focus on medium- to low-priced homes such as LPN Development, Supalai, Pruksa Real Estate and MK Real Estate could benefit the most.

Stronger housing demand and populist spending in rural areas should boost spending on house renovation in the provinces, helping building material firms such as Siam Cement and Siam City Cement.

Puea Thai is also expected to implement a policy of returning tax to first-time car buyers, which should stimulate demand and benefit car parts makers such as Somboon Advance Technology and AAPICO Hitech.

Puea Thai also plans to raise minimum wages, which would push up operating costs in the labor-intensive electronics sector.

Integrated circuit packager Hana Microelectromics, Star Microelectronic and Cal-Comp Electronics may be affected.

WHAT ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE?

Spending on infrastructure projects should continue, but some projects may be delayed due to the change in government. Top contractor Italian-Thai Development could benefit most from spending, followed by Ch Karnchang.

However, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction may be hurt by Puea Thai's victory and its shares fell nearly 6 percent on Monday. Chaowarat Charnveerakul, leader of Bhum Jai Thai Party -- a constituent of the outgoing coalition of the Democrat Party -- is a founder of the company.

WHY IS THE TELECOMS SECTOR IN THE SPOTLIGHT?

Puea Thai wants to liberalize the telecoms industry, with a new regulatory framework and new licenses for third-generation mobile and satellite services.

That would benefit top mobile firm Advanced Info Service Pcl (AIS) and satellite firm Thaicom, affiliates of Shin Corp Pcl, which was founded by de facto Puea Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra. Second-ranked Total Access Communication should also benefit.

Thaksin made his fortune in the telecoms sector with Shin Corp. His family sold a controlling stake in the company to Singapore's Temasek Holdings in 2006, triggering the events that led to his overthrow by the military in September of that year.

In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled Thaksin had concealed ownership of shares in Shin and tailored government policies to benefit Shin, AIS and Thaicom when in office.

The court ruling led to an investigation into the operating concessions of AIS and Thaicom, which raised concerns that the companies might have to pay higher fees or fines. Some analysts say the risk would be reduced with Puea Thai in power.

The outlook for rival True Corp, which appears to have done well under the Democrat government, seems less rosy.

After the collapse of a tender for new 3G bandwidth amid regulatory wrangling, True signed deals with CAT Telecom that extended its concession by 15 years and enabled it to be the first to launch nationwide 3G services on an existing network.

The True-CAT deal was already being probed by state agencies. True is part of unlisted food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, which is among big donors to the Democrat Party.

WHICH OTHER FIRMS ARE IN THE SPOTLIGHT FOR POLITICAL LINKS?

Shares in SC Asset Corp, the property arm of the Shinawatra family, hit a seven-year high on Monday. Yingluck Shinawatra, destined to be the next prime minister, was president of the company until being selected to head Puea Thai's campaign.

Yingluck is Thaksin's sister. Although she has now resigned all her positions in the company, some investors feel SC Asset will benefit while she leads the government.

Her husband Anusorn Amornchat is president of handset distributor M-Link Asia Corp. Shares of M-Link, which was founded by Thaksin's other two sisters, jumped 25 percent to 2.22 baht on Monday morning.

WHAT ABOUT STATE COMPANIES?

Analysts expect more political interference and continued price subsidies.

Top energy firm PTT Pcl, which suffers losses in its natural gas for vehicles (NGV) business as a result of state intervention to hold down prices, wants the next government to review policy so that NGV prices reflect costs.

Policies at state-controlled companies such as PTT, Thai Airways International, second-largest lender Krung Thai Bank and broadcaster MCOT may be reviewed by the next government.

The finance ministry currently plans to reduce its holdings in the four companies. It has 51 percent of Thai Airways, whose plans to start up a budget airline have been caught up in a wrangling between the finance and transport ministries.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij backed the idea of selling at least part of the state's stake; the transport minister was opposed to the idea. Puea Thai's Yingluck has described state-run firms as "not dynamic" and said state control was not good.

($1 = 30.41 Baht)

(Editing by Alan Raybould and Vinu Pilakkott)

FILED UNDER: