TFFIF had the first trading day for its units on SET on 31 October. The fund manager highlighted the shares of toll revenues from Chalong Rat Expressway and Burapha Withi Expressway, TFFIF's initial assets, which offer great opportunities to produce decent returns given the constant growths in their toll revenues and traffic volumes over the past three budget years (2015-17). First year's dividend yield for the unitholders is expected to reach 4.75%.(1)
MRS CHAVINDA HANRATANAKOOL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF KRUNGTHAI ASSET MANAGEMENT PCL, the fund manager, revealed that units of Thailand Future Fund, or TFFIF, have been traded on the Stock of Exchange of Thailand, with ticker symbol 'TFFIF', starting 31 October, and expressed her confidence that they will attract healthy interest from the investors seeking to invest in infrastructure assets with great potential to pay regular dividends, given the high levels of enthusiasm shown by both institutional and retail investors in the primary market.
TFFIF will invest in major infrastructure assets of Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT). The initial investments will include the right to receive 45% shares of net toll revenues from Chalong Rat Expressway and Burapha Withi Expressway (total length: 83.2km) for the 30-year period starting the transfer date under the applicable Revenue Transfer Agreement (or RTA). Several factors will likely contribute to impressive performances of these two expressways, e.g. traffic congestion in Bangkok (which will constantly raise the demand for expressways and personal passengers), construction of new expressways and connecting roads in the future, the ongoing Eastern Economic Corridor (or EEC) project, residential growths in suburban areas and greater Bangkok (which will increase the demand for expressways to facilitate commuting to inner Bangkok).
She added that it is TFFIF's policy to pay dividends at least twice a year if warranted by retained earnings, and that at least 90% of net profit (after adjustments) in a given year will be paid as dividends in the same year. She also noted that individual investors will enjoy an eight-year exemption of taxes on dividends as well as potential growths from TFFIF's future investment in public infrastructure assets.
MR PRAPAS KONG-IED, DIRECTOR OF STATE ENTERPRISE POLICY OFFICE (SEPO), as representative for the public sector, stated that the inception of TFFIF was successful as it enabled the government to raise funds for public-sector organisations and state enterprises in order to finance the development of major infrastructure projects to improve the national competitiveness without relying on state budgets or state-backed loans.
To ensure continuity in the development of infrastructure projects, investments in additional infrastructure projects of public-sector organisations and state enterprises will follow the initial investment in Chalong Rat Expressway and Burapha Withi Expressway. The Cabinet have decided that a study would be conducted to determine the feasibility of raising additional funds through TFFIF to finance the toll-based operation of Motorway Nos 7 (Bangkok - Ban Chang) and 9 (Bangkok Outer Ring Road) of the Department of Highways in the future.
DR SUCHART CHOLSAKPIPA, GOVERNOR OF EXAT, as owner of TFFIF's initial target assets, said that EXAT will remain responsible for the operation of Chalong Rat Expressway and Burapha Withi Expressway, and that, to better respond to the demand of commuters and add their convenience as well as alleviate traffic backups at toll gates, gates with cash-based and electronic toll collection systems will be installed in appropriate numbers.
EXAT expects to use the proceeds from the transfer of the rights to receive shares of toll revenues to finance the construction of two expressways, namely Rama III-Dao Khanong-Western Bangkok Outer Ring Expressway and the third-phase expressway's northern (N2) route, which will connect the Eastern Bangkok Outer Ring Road and an extension that will replace the N1 route. These expressways will enhance commuters' convenience and allowed EXAT to further its objective to build expressways that offer service excellence, value for money, convenience, speed and safety in a sustainable fashion.
The final number of the TFFIF units offered was 4.470 billion, which represented a capital increase by THB 44.7 billion (for which the first years' dividend yield for the unitholders is expected to reach 4.75%(1)). That made the offering Thailand's and South-East Asia's largest in 2018 in terms of subscription volume.