Thai billionaire Sarath plans US$5.4bil buyout of Intouch

Sarath Ratanavadi, who controls the Gulf Energy Development (Gulf) - Thailand’s biggest power producer by market value, is among the richest businessman on the Thai stock market. - The Nation Thailand/ANN

BANGKOK, April 19 (Bloomberg): Gulf Energy Development Pcl, Thailand’s biggest power producer by market value, offered to to acquire Intouch Holdings Pcl that control’s the nation’s largest mobile phone operator for as much as 169 billion baht (US$5.4 billion).

The Bangkok-based company, controlled by billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi, offered to buy 2.6 billion shares, or about 81% of Intouch, that it doesn’t currently own at 65 baht each, it said in an exchange filing. The offer price is 11% higher than Intouch’s close on Friday.

Gulf Energy will also tender for 100% of Advanced Info Service Pcl, Thailand’s biggest mobile phone company controlled by Intouch, at 122.86 baht each. Advanced Info’s offering will be subject to Gulf Energy securing at least 50% stake in Intouch, it said.

Sarath, 56, Thailand’s second-richest person, has expanded his 10-year-old energy company into deep-sea port, tollway and telecommunication as well as power projects in Vietnam, Oman and Germany. Acquisitions of Intouch and Advanced Info will create long-term benefit as both companies have strong potentials and cash flows as Thailand’s leading telecommunication companies, Gulf Energy said.

Gulf Energy’s proposed acquisition of Intouch would be Thailand’s third-biggest buyout deal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. is the biggest shareholder of Intouch after acquiring 21% stake from Temasek Holdings Pte in 2016. SingTel also owned about 23% stake in Advanced Info.

Loans, Cash

Sarath, Gulf Energy’s chief executive officer, has a net worth of $9.1 billion, most of which comes from his and his family’s stake in the power producer, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Gulf Energy will finance the acquisitions of Intouch and Advanced Info by its own cash flows and bank loans, according to the company’s statement. The company’s shareholders will hold a meeting on June 25 to consider the proposed acquisitions.

Intouch’s biggest earnings come from Advanced Info and Thaicom Pcl, the nation’s biggest satellite operator. It also invests in technology startups. Gulf Energy will request the regulator to waive a mandatory requirement to make tender offer for Thaicom, it said. - Bloomberg
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