Top Thai Asset Manager Plans At Least $700 Million IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Bangkok Commercial Asset Management Pcl, Thailand’s biggest distressed asset manager, is planning an initial public offering that could raise at least $700 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.

BAM, as the company is known, aims to list in Bangkok as soon as the first half of next year, according to the people. The Thai central bank plans to reduce its stake in BAM to less than 50 percent through the share sale, down from 100 percent currently, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The offering will target both domestic and international investors, one of the people said. BAM was set up during the Asian financial crisis two decades ago to manage assets of a failed lender, according to its website. It has since expanded by acquiring assets from other local banks, buying up distressed debt backed by real estate.

Chantavarn Sucharitakul, assistant governor at the Bank of Thailand, declined to comment. BAM President Somporn Moonsrikaew couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Bailout Fund

Record low interest rates, economic expansion and a current-account surplus have kept Thai investors’ demand for new share sales strong despite a slump in global equity markets. Thai companies and the government raised about $2 billion through IPOs in October, the most for a single month since 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Thailand’s richest man is planning an IPO of a domestic property business that could raise at least $1.5 billion, Bloomberg News reported last month. The government said this week it’s considering listing a new infrastructure fund next year holding assets from two state telecommunications providers.

The central bank owns BAM through its bailout arm, known as the Financial Institutions Development Fund. It first announced plans to list BAM in 2013 as it sought ways to repay debt it took on to save local banks during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis.

BAM has been upgrading its accounting practices and internal systems in preparation for a planned listing on the Thai stock exchange, according to its latest annual report. Its net income fell 8 percent last year to 4.5 billion baht ($137 million). BAM had about 99.9 billion baht of assets at the end of 2017, up from 93.7 billion baht a year earlier.

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