Monday, March 30, 2020

DIF to raise Bt15.8-bn for investment in telecommunications infrastructure

May 29. 2019
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By The Nation

Digital Telecommunications Fund (DIF) announced a fourth round of investment in telecommunications infrastructure assets, for which Bt15.8 billion will be raised through the offering of up to 1.05 billion newly issued units to existing unitholders.




For this purpose, the company will be holding the year’s first extraordinary general meeting on June 21. 

The Fund is projected to acquire benefits from the main target of additional investment through long-term leases to the main lessee, ie, True Group.

Narongsak Plodmechai, chief executive officer of SCB Asset Management Co Ltd, said DIF has been investing in telecommunications infrastructure assets on a national scale in line with its strategy to create continuous growth. 

He noted that DIF is committed to exploring opportunities in infrastructure assets and increase the value of its assets in order to generate long-term returns for unitholders, tap growth in the highly competitive telecommunications industry, which is entering the 5G era, and meet the ever-rising demand for internet services.

DIF owns and holds direct rights to net revenue from 15,271 telecommunications towers. It also owns and holds long-term leasehold interests approximately 2.7 million core kilometres of optical fibre cable. Moreover, it owns a broadband system upcountry with a capacity of 1.2 million ports. As of March 31, its net asset value stood at Bt150.29 billion. 

Narongsak said the telecommunications infrastructure assets of True Group, in which DIF will invest in the fourth round, comprise the following: 

 Ownership of 749 telecommunication towers on ground and approximately 39 telecommunication towers on rooftops, all of which are ready and most of them are no more than a year old; 

 Ownership of fibre optic cable, which is currently used for the provision of mobile phone services upcountry, with a distance of 1,795km or about 107,694 core km.

 Ownership of fibre optic cable that is currently used to support FTTx technology for the provision of internet and broadband services in Greater Bangkok and upcountry, with a total distance of approximately 315km or approximately 40,823 core km and approximately 617km or about 37,505 core km, respectively.

 Ownership of fibre optic cable used to support FTTx technology for the provision of internet and broadband internet services upcountry, with a total distance of 2,797km or about 109,704 core km.

According to estimates, the cash distribution per unit (DPU) of DIF after investment is expected to be no lower than the DPU expected even without the investment during the October 1, 2019-September 30, 2020 period. 

The only source of funds to be used in the investment will be from an increase in registered capital. DIF will boost its registered capital by no more than Bt10.5 billion, with a par value of Bt10, to Bt106.87 billion from Bt96.37 billion. The number of newly issued units, which will be offered proportionately to existing shareholders, will not exceed 1.05 billion units. 

DIF will propose this plan for approval at the EGM of Digital Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Unitholders on June 21.

For the three years from 2016 to 2018, DIF has consistently distributed returns to unitholders, achieving annualised DPU rates (as calculated from quarterly figures) of Bt0.956, Bt0.975 and Bt1.016 per unit respectively.

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