* IPO to be priced on April 5, listing set for April 19
* 20 cornerstone investors agree to buy $850 mln of the IPO
* AIA Group, Capital Research, Azentus, Fidelity among
* BTS Group's profit in first 9 months of 2012/13 rose 19
By Khettiya Jittapong and Elzio Barreto
BANGKOK/HONG KONG, March 15 Bangkok SkyTrain
operator BTS Group Holdings Pcl is seeking to raise up
to $2.1 billion by listing an infrastructure fund in what could
be Thailand's biggest IPO, riding a boom in Southeast Asia's
BTS Group filed a prospectus for the offer on Friday to list
the infrastructure fund, saying it would launch the offer on
March 29. The fund is aiming to benefit from Thailand's drive to
improve the nation's public transport systems.
The IPO would be the biggest on record in Thailand,
according to Thomson Reuters data going back to 1985, surpassing
the previous high of $727.6 million by Thai Oil Pcl in
2004. It will also be the largest IPO in Asia excluding Japan
since the $3.1 billion listing of People's Insurance Company
(Group) of China's (PICC) in late November.
The offering has received commitments worth $850 million
from 20 cornerstone investors, including insurer AIA Group Ltd
, hedge fund Azentus Capital Management and global
asset managers Fidelity and Capital Research and Management, a
source with direct knowledge of the plans told Reuters.
The fund is offering 5.79 billion units in an indicative
range of 10.4-10.8 baht each, making the total deal worth up to
62.5 billion baht ($2.11 billion), the prospectus showed. The
final pricing is due April 5 and the fund would debut on April
19, the prospectus showed.
The fund will likely yield between 6 percent to 6.2 percent,
added the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on
BTS is the operator of Thailand's first mass-transit line,
which runs through Bangkok's residential and commercial areas.
It also has interests in property development and investments
along the routes.
Under the terms of the listing, the fund will own the net
farebox revenue generated from the SkyTrain network, which has
23.5 kilometres of rail lines. The revenues from the SkyTrain
core network jumped 21.2 percent in the fiscal year ended March
2012 from 2011 to about 4.3 billion baht.
The listing comes after Thailand enjoyed its busiest year
for IPOs in 18 years in 2012 after investors flocked to
Southeast Asian offerings. The boom in new listings in Thailand,
Malaysia and the Philippines has helped investment banks
compensate for a drop-off in larger Asia-Pacific markets like
Hong Kong, China and Singapore.
Thailand's benchmark share index is up about 15
percent this year, making it Asia's third-best performer behind
Japan and Vietnam. That comes on the back of last year's 36
Companies including the local unit of Tesco Plc
raised about $1.37 billion in IPOs in Thailand in 2012, putting
new issuance volume at the highest since the $2.64 billion
raised in 1994, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The Thai government has launched a massive expansion of
Bangkok's mass-transit system and aims to expand it more than
six times with 508 kilometres of lines by 2029, from 79.5
kilometres now. The bulk of the expansion is planned for 2017,
when about 146.1 kilometres of new lines are set to start
The four lines that BTS Group plans to bid on would require
nearly $4.35 billion of investments, with bidding slated for
2013 and operations starting in 2017. Its interest in the lines
comes mainly because they have a direct connection to the
SkyTrain network and would feed passengers into that network.
For the first nine months of the 2012-13 financial year, BTS
made a net profit of 2.09 billion baht, up 19 percent from the
same period a year earlier. Its fiscal year runs from April to
BTS has said it will buy one-third of the fund units on
offer with total proceeds from the IPO set aside to invest in
Morgan Stanley, Phatra Securities and UBS
were hired as joint bookrunners for the IPO.
Over the past 12 months, BTS shares have risen 88 percent,
outperforming a 36 percent gain of the overall market.