BANGKOK May 27 Shares in some Thai state-owned
companies fell on Tuesday, in contrast to a rise in the main
index, amid concerns that top executives could be fired and
boardroom policies altered after the government was toppled by
the military last week.
Thailand's biggest energy firm, PTT, was among the
worst hit as worries grew over possible changes after the
military government issued a series of orders transferring
senior government officials.
PTT stocks, which suffered their biggest drop in almost
three months on Monday with a loss of 2.6 percent, fell as much
as 1.35 percent at one stage. PTT finished down 0.7 percent,
while the main SET index rose 0.3 percent.
PTT is 51.1 percent owned by the finance ministry. The
firm's board chairman is Panpre Mahittananukorn, a former member
of Puea Thai, the main party in the ousted government.
Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Rangsan Sriworasat, who
is acting as finance minister under the ruling military council,
denied any plan to change PTT's board at this stage.
"PTT is a listed company and a board change will need
approval from shareholders. Although the finance ministry is a
major shareholder of PTT, it still needs to call a shareholders
meeting," he told reporters.
Shares in airport operator Airports of Thailand -
which could also suffer from a drop in foreign visitors because
of the coup - fell almost 1 percent at one point to their lowest
in more than three months after a drop of more than 2 percent on
Monday. The stock closed down 0.3 percent.
The company is 70 percent owned by the finance ministry and
its board chairman, Sita Divari, is also a former member of Puea
Some other state-owned stocks recouped early losses.
National carrier Thai Airways International rose 0.8
percent after an earlier fall of almost 1 percent, while
state-run broadcaster MCOT gained 1 percent.
Investors have been lukewarm about Thai stocks for months
compared with regional rivals because of prolonged political
unrest, which caused the economy to contract 2.1 percent in the
first quarter from the previous three months and sent consumer
confidence to its lowest in more than 12 years in April.
Foreign investors have offloaded a net 23.4 billion baht
($718 million) worth of stocks over the five sessions since the
imposition of martial law on May 20 followed by the military
coup on May 22.
Outflows so far this year total 31 billion baht ($951
million), according to Thomson Reuters data.
That compares with net inflows to other markets in Southeast
Asia, including Indonesia's 41.9 trillion rupiah ($3.62 billion)
and the Philippines' 63.8 billion peso ($1.46 billion).
($1 = 32.6000 Thai baht)
(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by
Wilawan Pongpitak; Editing by Alan Raybould and Jacqueline Wong)