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NEWS UPDATES 11 March 2010

Temasek to keep stake in Shin Corp

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Thai telecoms group Shin Corp said its major shareholder, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, had no plan to sell its stakes in the Thai firm or in satellite unit Thaicom, reported Reuters.

A court ruling on Feb 26 that former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra had concealed ownership of shares in Shin Corp and tailored government policies to benefit Shin has fuelled speculation Temasek might divest some or all of its Shin stake.

“There’s no such issue,” executive chairman Somprasong Boonyachai told reporters yesterday.

Shin group management was in Singapore in early March, a few days after the court verdict, to present its 2009 performance to investors, Somprasone said, but the trip had led to speculation about the sale of Shin, valued at around $2.5 billion.

The Singapore state investment firm indirectly owns 96.11 percent of Shin Corp, which was founded by Thaksin.

The sale to Temasek in January 2006 was one of the factors that precipitated a military coup against Thaksin that year.

Foreigners are generally limited to holding 49 percent in a Thai firm.

Temasek had, from late 2006, considered diluting its controlling stake to 49 percent to ease political pressure.

But those plans were put on hold pending a probe into whether the takeover broke the law and a more general review of takeover laws, which did not finally result in any change in the legislation.

Shin, controlled by Temasek through two Thai-registered companies, was still looking to invest in new businesses related to the telecoms and media sectors, and expected to make progress this year, Somprasong said without giving further detail.


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