From Reuters

* Gulf Energy is Thailand’s third-biggest power company

* More Thai IPOs expected next year, including PTT’s retail arm

* Shares to be listed on Dec.6 (Adds fund manager comments, Thai IPO milestones)

BANGKOK,  (Reuters) – Thailand’s Gulf Energy Development Pcl has raised $733 million after its initial public offering priced at the top end of expectations – marking the country’s biggest corporate IPO in more than ten years.

The offering underscores a rebound for Thai listings after a slump last year, with investors taking heart from a pick-up in exports and tourism. The Thai junta’s setting of an election in November 2018 – the most precise date given since it took power in 2014 military coup – has also bolstered sentiment.

Thailand’s No. 3 power producer, which has a portfolio of gas-fired and renewable power plants, said in a filing it had priced the offering of 533.3 million new shares at the top of its 40 baht to 45 baht per share range.

At its IPO price, Gulf Energy would have a market capitalisation of 96 billion baht ($2.9 billion). The company, led by Sarath Ratanavadi, will make its market debut on Dec. 6.

“Gulf is one of Thailand’s older companies, the CEO Sarath is seasoned with good connections and able to get good independent power producer and small power producer purchase agreements,” said Pote Harinasuta, CEO at One Asset Management.

The IPO was oversubscribed by 18 times – a level that Pote said was par for the course for Thai companies.

Gulf Energy is set to be the largest company float in Thailand since 2006 when Rayong Refinery raised 27.2 billion baht although Rayong Refinery has since been delisted.

It is also the biggest IPO for any Thai entity since Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund raised 55 billion baht two years ago.

Bangkok IPOs this year, including Gulf Energy, have raised a combined 56.3 billion baht, versus last year’s total of 52.7 billion baht, according to the bourse’s website.

Thonburi Hospital Group is due to price its IPO this Friday while offerings expected next year include the retail arm of energy giant PTT Group.

Cornerstone investors in Gulf Energy included the Asian Development Bank and Affin Hwang Asset Management Berhad as well as 15 Thai investors.

Gulf Energy plans to increase investment, including lifting its stake in a joint development project with Mitsui & Co from 51 percent to 70 percent. The project is developing two gas-fired independent power producers with a total capacity of 5,300 megawatts (MW), with commercial operations expected to begin after 2021.

Gulf Energy has an installed capacity of over 4,772.1 MW and plans to add another 6,353.6 MW of capacity to its existing portfolio by 2024.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS were the lead managers for the offering, while Bualuang Securities, Kasikorn Securities and Siam Commercial Bank were joint domestic coordinators.


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