Thailand’s digital ministry was tipped to be pressing ahead with plans to turnaround the fortunes of state-run TOT and CAT Telecom, readying a proposal which would see the pair complete a merger by mid-2020.

Bangkok Post reported a merger plan was approved by the State Enterprise Policy Office which the Digital Economy and Society Ministry intends to present to the country’s cabinet by October. It is the government’s latest attempt to revive the loss-ridden organisations, which together employ about 20,000 staff.

Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Digital Economy and Society Minister, told the newspaper a merger “is the best solution to eliminate redundancy of their business operations, as well as creating added value for their existing assets.”

The ministry asked the operators to submit detailed plans within 45 days, covering the employee and management structure; assets and valuation; and business agreements and contracts with other private companies, Bangkok Post wrote.

If approved, the combined company, National Telecom Co, would start operations in the second quarter of 2020. It would come under the control of the Finance Ministry.

The merger of the state enterprises, which the government insists will not lead to job cuts, has long been pushed to eliminate overlapping services, covering mobile, broadband and international gateways.