Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Facts on PTT, Thailand’s biggest listed firm

BANGKOK: A top Thai court rejected a lawsuit by activists seeking to delist PTT PCL, but ordered the $34 billion energy giant to return its pipeline business to the state.

Here are some facts about Thailand’s biggest listed firm.

* Founded as the Petroleum Authority of Thailand in 1978 to address the country’s energy shortages, it has a natural gas pipeline monopoly and more than 30 petroleum, gas exploration, refining and petrochemical businesses.

* PTT operates 2,650 km (1,650 miles) of transmission and distribution pipelines around the country and from gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand. Capacity is 3,170 million cubic feet per day.

* PTT was partially privatised in 2001, raising $833 million in an initial public offering. The Ministry of Finance remains the biggest shareholder with a 52.17 percent stake.

* In August 2006, the Foundation for Consumers and five individuals petitioned the Supreme Administrative Court to revoke two laws, which paved the way for the privatisation of PTT.

* They argued the privatisation was marred by conflicts of interest and inadequate public hearings.

* PTT also failed to give up its right to expropriate public property as stated in its prospectus. PTT insisted the deal was legal and transparent.

* PTT has a market value of $34.3 billion and accounts for more than 16 percent of the Thai bourse. Its delisting would have dealt a serious blow to Southeast Asia’s third biggest stock market and undermined foreign investor confidence, analysts said.

* PTT’s earnings have soared along with rising oil prices since 2003. Its major units are PTT Exploration and Production PCL, PTT Chemical and Thai Oil.

* After his election in 2001, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra pushed ahead with the partial privatisation of PTT and other state-controlled firms. That policy stalled in March 2006 when a court rejected the privatisation of EGAT, the state-owned power firm. Thaksin was ousted in a bloodless coup in September.

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