Thailand’s True is preparing to sell off its telecoms towers and fibre assets to reduce debt and fund 4G expansion.
The infrastructure sale, which will be its second, to True Telecoms Growth Infrastructure Fund (TRUEGIF) will comprise 350 towers and 8,000km of fibre currently held by True’s subsidiary Asia Wireless Communication (AWC), the Bangkok Post reported.
The fund’s board has approved the sale, which is expected to raise THB14 billion ($424 million). The fund is 30 per cent owned by True. The other shareholders are scheduled to vote on the plan next month, and once approved the transaction will take place in early March, the Post said.
In late 2013 True, the country’s third largest mobile operator, established the fund, which took control of some of its towers and optic-fibre cable. The operator signed a three-year contract in November to rent up to 115 of dtac’s towers to install its 3G base stations. The deal is expected to be expanded to 2,000 towers this year.
True reportedly is also discussing a network sharing arrangement with rival AIS as well as state-owned CAT Telecom and TOT. CAT said last week it plans to finalise a network sharing deal with True Move by March.
In September China Mobile acquired an 18 per cent stake in True for THB28.6 billion ($880 million) through a private share placement. The share sale was part of the Thai operator’s plan to raise THB65 billion through an equity issue. The remaining portion of the recapitalisation was an offering to existing shareholders and worth about THB36.4 billion.
The moves allowed True to repay THB55 billion in debt.