ThailandÆs AIS confirms bond plans

Thailand''s Advanced Info Service has received shareholder approval for plans to raise Bt15 billion of unsecured debt.
Thailand’s biggest mobile phone company, Advanced Info Service (AIS), subsidiary of the Shinawatra Computer and Communications Group, has confirmed that it is to issue up to Bt15 billion ($347.9 million) of unsecured debentures. The company first announced its intention to tap into the debt market back in December when its board of directors gave the go-ahead.

Although further details regarding which banks will be mandated to arrange the transaction and when any issue is likely to take place have not been decided, the board of directors notified the Stock Exchange of Thailand that it had received shareholder approval for the deal to take place.

Proceeds from the issue will be used to fund an expansion of the company’s network, which the company recently estimated will cost around Bt12 billion for the next year. AIS, which holds a license to operate Thailand’s mobile phone system until 2010, now has to determine whether the amount of debt it seeks to raise will come through single or multiple issues and whether it will be denominated in local or foreign currency.