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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        28  February 2011

Laos plans B2.8bn bond

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The government of Laos is planning to issue bonds worth 2.8 billion baht in Thailand to finance power generation projects, says Chakkrit Parapuntakul, director-general of the Public Debt Management Office (PDMO).

Mr. Chakkrit said the issue would be Vientiane's first fund-raising effort in an overseas market. In the past, Laos has received low-cost finance from international institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Laos has declared its goal to be the "battery of Asia" and has several agreements to sell power to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

Mr. Chakkrit said Thailand's Finance Ministry had approved the sale of Lao government bonds, aimed mainly at Thai institutional investors. Power plant revenues generated would be used to pay principal and interest to investors.

Laos will use Thai government bonds as the benchmark for coupon rates.

The PDMO allows foreign companies and governments and international financial institutions to issue bonds in Thailand to offer Thai investors more choices. However, it has to make sure such fund-raising will not affect local debt issuance.

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