AIS Weighs Options for $3 Billion Tower Assets

Advanced Info Service Pcl (AIS), Thailand’s largest telecommunications group, is weighing various options for its tower business, including the possibility of a stake sale, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The Bangkok-based firm has reportedly held talks with potential advisors regarding a strategic review of its assets. Another option under consideration is the creation of an infrastructure fund that could be listed on the Bangkok stock exchange, the sources added.

The tower business, which could be valued between $2 billion to $3 billion, has garnered early interest from other telecommunications companies and infrastructure-focused funds, the sources noted. Following a recent news report, shares of AIS rose by as much as 2.8% on the 9th of February, 2023, marking the company’s biggest intraday gain since September 2022. AIS has a market value of approximately $17.7 billion.

In August 2021, Nattiya Paopongsakorn, the head of AIS’ investor relations department, stated that the company was exploring the prospect of raising funds by spinning off its telecom towers and other assets. At the time, the company reported ownership of around 22,000 telecom towers.

Investments in digital infrastructure, including assets such as phone towers, data centers, and satellites, have been prevalent in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in Southeast Asia, as investors aim to tap into the area’s growth potential. Additionally, telecom providers are seeking to raise funds to expand their services, including 5G deployment.

It is important to note that the considerations are still in the preliminary stages, and no final decision has been made. AIS could still opt against pursuing a transaction, the sources stated. A representative for AIS declined to comment on the matter.

AIS provides a range of services to both individuals and companies in Thailand, including mobile services, fixed broadband, enterprise solutions, and digital services. The company has 45.7 million subscribers for its mobile services.

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