BASIS POINT-Total Access seeks 10 bln baht loan for 3G licence bid

Wed Aug 8, 2012 5:42am EDT

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(The following item was previously published by Basis Point, a Thomson Reuters publication)

By Maggie Chen

Aug 8 (Reuters Basis Point) - Thailand's Total Access Communication Public Co Ltd (DTAC) is in talks with banks for a Bt10bn (US$317m) five-year loan to back its bid for a new 3G mobile phone licence, sources said.

According to sources, DTAC, the country's second-largest mobile phone operator, is talking with the three major Japanese banks, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp .

Funds from the loan would also be used for capital expenditure.

Sources said the loan will likely be a club deal, with participation only from the three Japanese banks. The facility would have an average life of about four years, a source said.

Thailand's telecoms regulator said it will hold an auction in October for new 3G mobile phone licences with 15-year terms, Reuters reported in June.

According to the report, the top three telecom operators in Thailand were expected to bid for the licence. Besides DTAC, the two others are Advanced Info Service, which is partly owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, and True Corp.

DTAC last tapped foreign banks for a loan in 2006, when it sealed a Bt6bn-equivalent five-year two-tranche loan led by BTMU, Mizuho, Standard Chartered Bank and SMBC. The deal included a yen tranche which paid a top-level all-in of around 50bp.

Sources said local Thai banks are more competitive on baht loans than foreign banks. However, Japanese banks are keen on this deal for relationship purposes and may be providing competitive terms.

DTAC is controlled by Norway's Telenor ASA. (Reporting by Maggie Chen in HONG KONG; Editing by Jacqueline Poh, Gavin Stafford and Chris Lewis)

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