Joint panel to re-consider TOT-CAT merger

Joint panel to reconsider TOT-CAT merger

29 SEP 2014

Thailand’s ICT Ministry and Finance Ministry will discuss the possibility of merging the country’s two state-owned telecoms operators – TOT and CAT.

A working panel with representatives from both ministries will meet next month and reach a conclusion by the end of the year, the Bangkok Post reported.

Previous attempts – dating back to 2004 under Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration — have failed because it was difficult to analyse and quantify the value of their telecoms infrastructure assets, the Post said.

ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa told the Post that the panel would look at various options, including a complete merger or a combination of only some business structures. “A merger might not be our priority,” he commented.

The State Enterprise Policy Commission, or ‘superboard’, set up by the National Council for Peace and Order to review the operations of four state enterprises, ordered TOT and CAT to submit plans for cutting non-core businesses and focus on six core areas to enable it to streamline operations and cut costs.

A source involved in writing the superboard’s plan told Mobile World Live that there would likely be a breakup of each organisation into five to six subsidiaries, which would need to find private joint-venture partners.

TOT has 20,000 staff compared with CAT’s 6,000. CAT is forecast to have a THB1.7 billion profit on revenue of THB55 billion. TOT lost THB1.3 billion in the first half of the year and is on track for a THB10 billion loss for 2014.

The ICT Minister is scheduled to meet CAT’s board on Thursday to review the agency’s turnaround plan, the Post said.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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