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February 3, 2009

Thai parent mulls listing Laos power unit
Thai construction firm Ch Karnchang is considering listing its power subsidiary in Laos on the Bangkok stock exchange, Reuters quoted a company spokeswoman as saying Monday.

"We're studying the possibility as to when it would be best to list," the spokeswoman told Reuters.

"There are a number of things to consider here. Among other things is the market condition. It could be this year or not," the spokeswoman said, adding the company was not in need of cash.

She declined to reveal details of the IPO plan or how much the company was looking to raise, but the proceeds would be used for future expansion.

The Bangkok bourse has been trying to attract more IPOs after the global finanical crisis and domestic political turmoil curbed demand for new listings. The exchange saw just 11 IPOs in 2008 and 12 in 2007.

The last major IPO in Thailand was a $130 million May listing by top private water producer Thai Tap Water Supply TTW.BK, about 34 percent-owned by Ch Karnchang.

This year the bourse is aiming for 46 new market listings.

Ch Karnchang owns 38 percent of Southeast Asia Energy Co Ltd (SEAN), operator of the 615-megawatt Nam Ngum II hydropower plant in Laos, a major tributary of the Mekong. The project is expected to be completed in 2010.

If does list, Southeast Asia Energy would be the fourth Ch Karnchang subsidiary to do so after Bangkok Expressway BECL.BK, a tollway operator, subway operator Bangkok Metro BMCL.BK and Thai Tap Water Supply.

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