UPDATE 1-Thai telecoms group True may cut infrastructure fund IPO - sources
(Adds comments from True Corp official)
BANGKOK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Thai telecoms group True Corp Pcl may cut the size of its infrastructure fund IPO by about 17 percent to $1.9 billion due to a dispute with a state-owned firm over the ownership of some assets, people with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.
True Corp, majority-owned by billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont's CP Group, had originally planned to raise 70 billion baht ($2.3 billion) from the initial public offering to pay down it debt. The offer is set to be Asia Pacific's biggest IPO so far this year.
Chief Financial Officer Noppadol Dej-Udom told Reuters True Corp would drop some 7,000 telecom towers from the IPO which its mobile unit TrueMove operates under concession from state-owned CAT Telecom as the assets are under arbitration.
He declined, however, to say whether True Corp would reduce the size of the fund but said the final amount had yet to be finalised.
"We are still committed to offering a 70 billion baht fund but we are still working on details to finalise the number. If we come up with a new amount, it needs to be approved by the company's board of directors," Noppadol added.
He declined to give further details.
The sources had earlier said True Corp would add fibre optic cable networks for high-speed Internet and data services to the fund instead of the towers, and would reduce the size of the IPO to 60 billion baht.
The sources declined to be identified due to the confidentiality of the discussions.
True Corp had said late last month that it was postponing a Sept 12 shareholder meeting to approve the IPO. True's shares have dropped nearly 20 percent in the past month, underperforming an 8 percent fall of the main index, on concerns about the possible delay of the IPO.
True Corp had initially planned to include 13,000 telecoms towers in the IPO, including the 7,000 used by TrueMove which operates Thailand's third-largest mobile network.
TrueMove is currently in an arbitration dispute with CAT Telecom about ownership of some of these towers. Under the concession, TrueMove is required to transfer the network back to the state firm after the contract ends on Sept 15.
($1 = 32.32 Baht)
(Reporting by Manunphattr Dhanananphorn and Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Denny Thomas)