True Corporation set an ambitious goal to slash its net debt-to-earnings ratio by more than half this year through the launch of an infrastructure fund and a series of financial recapitalisation programmes.
The telecom conglomerate expects consolidated revenue of 75 billion baht this year, up 20% from last year.
True projects its loss-ridden mobile operating unit True Move to break even in the final quarter of this year after six consecutive years of losses, thanks to more 3G customers.
But the full-year financial result for True Group will remain in the red. True reported a net loss of 6 billion baht in 2012.
Chief financial officer Noppadol Dej-udom said True expects to reduce its net debt-to-EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) ratio to two times this year from five times currently.
True has around 100 billion baht in debt.
Mr Noppadol said the company is in discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission on listing an infrastructure fund on the stock exchange. "We expect to list our infrastructure fund on the SET this year," he said.
While declining to define what telecom infrastructures will be included as part of the fund, Mr Noppadol said True will list only infrastructures that do not put the company at a competitive disadvantage, noting the fibre-optic network could be a part of the fund.
Thailand has only one infrastructure fund, the BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund, backed by revenue from the combined 23.5-kilometre skytrain routes _ the Sukhumvit and Silom lines.
He said True is on the verge of revamping its financial structure with the aim of easing its liquidity crunch and improving its financial status.
"After setting up our infrastructure fund and revamping our financial structure, we will start talking with potential foreign strategic partners to join True Move," said Mr Noppadol.
True projects its revenue to grow by 20% to 75 billion baht this year. Half the total will come from mobile business, 35% from broadband internet and online games, with the remaining 15% from cable TV.
"We expect our operating performance to make a profit next year," said Mr Noppadol.
Shares of TRUE closed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 6.80 baht yesterday, up 10 satang, in trade worth 340 million baht.
About the author
- Writer: Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn
Position: Deputy Business Editor