Mobile rivals form partnership in Thailand

14 Aug 2006

Thai handset distributor International Engineering (IEC) has clinched a deal to buy a 24.35% stake in its rival Bliss-Tel for 252 million baht ($6.7 million).

IEC told the Stock Exchange of Thailand that the company would purchase 56 million Bliss-Tel shares for 4.50 baht ($) each from four major shareholders.

They were Singapore-based Network Management Solutions, in a big-lot transaction of 35 million shares, Attavit Ektanitphong's 8.3 million shares, Chongkolnee Kemachantree's 7.7 million shares, and Prakaidao Kemachantree's 5 million shares.

In exchange, IEC would sell 21 million new shares, accounting for 2% of the total stake, to the three biggest shareholders of Bliss-Tel for 4.50 baht ($0.11) each, Sunjutha Witchawut CEO of IEC said.

Rumors about the Bliss-Tel acquisition began circulating in the stock market last month, pushing up IEC share prices by nearly 200% to a seven-week high of 4.16 baht ($0.10) in late July.

Sumit Champrasit, the IEC executive committee chairman, said the company planned to boost its holdings in Bliss-Tel to 40% as part of a plan to strengthen the handset business, but had no plans to delist Bliss-Tel from the exchange.

Meanwhile, Attavit Ektanitphong, managing director of Bliss-Tel, said he was pleased that the deal had eventually come to a close after a long drawn-out set of talks.

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