The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is concerned about the growing dispute between True Corporation and CAT Telecom over the planned launch of an infrastructure fund by the telecom conglomerate.
Prakit Boonyatthiti, the SEC's corporate finance director, admitted the commission is seeking more clarity on True's mobile network assets under agreement with CAT to operate a 2G service, which is undergoing arbitration now.
"We need to see a clear resolution on the 2G networks transfer between both parties before endorsing the planned establishment of an infrastructure fund," he said.
True reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand last month that its board approved the company and its subsidiaries entering transactions for an infrastructure fund to raise at least 70 billion baht. The fund is aimed at repaying debt and financing future business expansion.
True is preparing to apply with the SEC to set up the fund.
True plans to sell telecom towers, its core fibre-optic cable network, broadband networks, and the rights to revenue from equipment rental to the fund. It will also acquire a 33% stake in the fund.
Among the key assets True plans to sell to the fund are 13,000 telecommunications towers. True Move has 7,000 telecom towers, while True Corp has 6,000 of its own. BFKT (Thailand), a unit of True group, has 1,400 towers.
CAT wants True Move to transfer 7,000 telecom towers to CAT in compliance with the built-transfer-operate deal.
But True dismissed the request and insisted it is not required by the contract terms to transfer the towers to the state enterprise.
True chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont insisted earlier the 7,000 towers belong to his company, not the concession owner.
Information and Communication Technology Minister Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap supports CAT in the dispute.
An industry source said he believed the infrastructure fund is vital for True.
"If True's infrastructure fund is approved, True might be able to repay debts and expand businesses," he said.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter