Thai government launches privatization of CAT

Despite sagging demand for telecom stocks, the Thai government has sent out the terms for the privatization of Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT).

Investment bankers have expressed great surprise that the Thaksin administration has decided to press ahead with a privatization which moved to the top of the government divestment list at the height of the telecommunications boom and has stayed there ever since despite the sector's huge drop-off in demand. There is also unanimous agreement that it will be impossible to meet the government's timeframe for the transaction and that whichever bank wins, it will have an enormous job on its hands.

Terms of reference have been sent to 49 banks, with a number already deciding not to participate on the basis that the restructuring job will be immense and the potential reward relatively small. Under...

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