EGAT files for first Thai state infra fund

Public energy producer EGAT paves the way for Thai infrastructure privatisation as it readies the launch of a much-awaited $613m listed infrastructure fund.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), Thailand's state-owned power producer which owns the majority of the kingdom’s power generation capacity and transmission networks, will be the first Thai company to set up a public infrastructure fund, with expectations of unit subscriptions early this year amounting to about 20 billion baht (€541 million; $613 million).

The Nation reported the news yesterday, citing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)'s secretary-general Vorapol Socatiyanurak.

In a phone conversation with Infrastructure Investor today, the SEC confirmed the news, which was leaked on the sidelines of a conference given in Bangkok by Socatiyanurak on the benefits of crowd-funding.

The State Enterprise Policy Office revealed to Infrastructure Investor last November that the planned $613 million, 20-year baht-denominated closed-ended infrastructure fund had undergone last minute-revisions, which delayed the Cabinet’s approval.

The Ministry of Finance, advised by law firm Baker & Mackenzie, has been setting up legal and financial parameters for the country’s listed infrastructure funds, a project in the making since the interim military government took power in May last year.

In December, The Bureau of Investment approved private investment schemes supporting four power generation assets in need of development/refurbishment collectively priced at 4.9 billion baht, comprising a bio diesel fuel power plant and three renewable power companies.

Two weeks ago, EGAT was granted two loans from Manila-based development bank Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth $85 million to help Thailand’s Chaiyaphum Wind Farm Company (CWFC) to develop an 81-megawatt (MW) power plant in Northern province as a public-private partnership (PPP) under the country’s small power producer regulations.

With Thailand's natural gas reserves expected to run out by 2021, it has launched a set of attractive tax incentive regimes and lucrative feed-in-tariffs for wind and solar power generation. The new military regime announced earlier this year it was speeding up solar deployments, bringing forward the current Power Development Programme’s target of installed solar capacity of 3,000MW scheduled for 2021 to the end of the year.

It is also actively seeking funds from foreign investors to refurbish and develop rail infrastructure along key transversal trade routes.