ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai government opposes SET privatisation
Ambitious plans by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) to position itself as the Wall Street of Southeast Asia could be jeopardized after the new Thai government announced its opposition to transforming it into a private entity.
The SET has been working for more than four years on a plan that would transform the organisation into a public company, a process known as corporatisation. Proponents argue that corporatisation, under which the SET would list its own shares on the exchange, would help strengthen the market's efficiency and competitiveness in the global capital markets.
But Kittiratt Na-Ranong, a deputy prime minister and commerce minister, signaled his firm opposition to the programme.
"The fact is other markets have corporatised to raise capital. But the SET is strong enough right now - there's no need to corporatise," said Mr Kittiratt, a former SET president.
"Personally, I would scrap this plan altogether."
His comments came as the SET held a briefing yesterday about its new 2 billion-baht headquarters on Ratchadaphisek Road.
The new building, with 59,400 square metres of office space and including energy-saving and environmental protection innovations, will be completed in 2013 and is part of plans to position Ratchadaphisek as the country's new financial district.
The main building is designed to represent two fish swimming in opposite directions under the Chinese concept of yin and yang. It represents the volatility and uncertainty of capital markets.
Chairman Sompol Kiatphaibool said the current development plan called for the SET to be corporatized and links created with other regional exchanges to help support its long-term growth.
"The [Abhisit Vejjajiva] government supported this goal. But if the current administration disagrees, that's okay. We can proceed just as well under a different plan aimed at strengthening the Thai market's competitiveness," he said.
Most Asian bourses have already been corporatized, including the Singapore Stock Exchange and Bursa Malaysia.
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