Thaicom to be bought by Gulf Group
November 14, 2022
By Chris Forrester
Satellite operator Thaicom’s 30-year concession to access certain orbital rights ended in September 2021. The Thai government took two satellites – half the fleet – back on September 10th 2021.
In a new statement to the Thai stock exchange the satellite operator said that current major shareholder, Intouch Holdings, would sell its 41.13 per cent stake in Thaicom to Gulf Ventures for $0.27 per share.
Once this initial transaction concludes Gulf will buy the remaining 58.9 per cent (about 645 million shares) from the company’s remaining shareholders at the same 27c/share price.
Gulf Group has been diversifying for the past year or two since buying the Singapore Telecom-backed Intouch and its wireless unit AIS.
Thaicom said the transaction, and its overall costs to Gulf Group of some $292 million, is likely to close in the next few months.
The partial ending of the orbital concession also meant the end of quite significant fees to Thailand’s government. Thaicom reported that its costs had tumbled by 44 per cent to $28.9 million. However, the revenue side of the equation is also down by 12.8 per cent for the 9-month period to September 30th.
The current situation is that the company’s main revenue is coming from Thaicom 7 and 8 which it is allowed to sell satellite services. Additionally, Thaicom has been leasing capacity on Thaicom 4 and 6 from Thailand’s National Telecom Public.
Thaicom CEO, Patompob Suwansiri, said: “Twelve months down the line [since the ending of the concession] we are in a very good position. We have a better balance sheet and we are more profitable. We are still looking for growth and just like the other operators we are focusing on what we can leverage.”