Keppel T&T deepens Thai ties

Keppel T&T makes a strategic acquisition into Thai internet and publishing group, ARG.

 KeppelTelecommunications and Transportation (Keppel T&T) has revealed that is has bought 45% of Thai company, Advance Research Group Company (ARG). Keppel T&T paid $15 million for the stake, valuing ARG at little over $33 million. ARG is Thailand's leading internet content provider and business information services company.

In 1999, ARG made profits of Bt13.1 million ($320, 731) on revenues of Bt283.6 million ($6.9 million). The price paid by Keppel means that it is valuing the Thai company at over 100 times its 1999 profits.

The investment is the second that Keppel T&T has made in ARG after it took a 20% in ANEW Corporaion - a subsidiary of ARG - in March 2000.

As part of this second deal, Keppel T&T will provide ARG subsidiaries with web hosting services through its DataOneAisa web-hosting service centre in Bangkok. Keppel T&T will also work with ARG-associated company Business Online to develop business information services, through its subsidiary AsiaBizInfo. Kepel T&T and ARG also plan to develop e-commerce applications and e-business services.

"This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to develop the depth and reach of our regional ventures through in-country equity partnership with local operators," said Ng Eng Ho, managing director of Keppel T&T. "ARG complements Keppel T&T's strategic thrust as its existing businesses map our own eBusiness enabler and facilitator services."