September 15, 2003,
Wichit Chantanusornsiri http://www.bangkokpost.com/Business/15Sep2003_biz48.html
Funds raised from the upcoming initial public offering of the
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) will be used to
finance new investment for the country's electricity system.
Authorities plan to float a 30% stake and list Egat on the Stock
Exchange of Thailand in its initial public offering in the first
quarter of next year. It is expected to the largest in market
Areepong Bhoocha-oom, deputy director-general of the State Enterprise
Policy Office, said the share listing would not only help improve Egat's
financial position, but also raise funds for future investment.
``Egat still has a considerable need for new investment, not just in
Thailand, but also within Asean,'' he said.
Policymakers are looking to eventually tie in electricity networks
throughout the region into a single connected grid covering Burma,
Thailand, Southern China, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Asean Grid concept would allow Thailand to tap into power
generation sources in neighbouring countries, such as at the Salween
hydroelectric plant in Burma or natural gas fields in Malaysia.
Dr Areepong said it was necessary for the country to diversify its
power sources to avoid potential risks in the future, noting that more
than 70% of electricity now stems from gas generation plans.
Egat, however, will face huge new investment requirements if projects
such as the proposed 6,600-megawatt Salween plan is to be completed.
Estimated costs for the dam run over 200 billion baht.
The project will flood more than 20,000 rai of land in Thailand and
280,000 rai in Burma. Under the proposed structure, Burma would receive
payment of around four billion baht a year, but the investment would be
paid by the Thai side.
Dr Areepong said that assuming market conditions remained favourable,
Egat would be listed on the SET in the first quarter. In 2002, the state
enterprise had net profits of 27.35 billion baht, well up from the 14.27
billion in 2001.
Total assets for Egat as of the end of last year were 382 billion baht,
with liabilities of 236 billion.