Bank’s wish advances AIS bid to take stake in JASIF

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Bangkok Bank (BBL) has agreed to extend the repayment date and reduce the interest rate on a loan worth 13.3 billion baht that Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund (JASIF) still owes, if the unitholders of the fund approve the purchase by Advanced Info Service (AIS) of the units of the fund held by Jasmine International (JAS).

This decision was communicated to the Stock Exchange of Thailand by BBL Asset Management (BBLAM), the fund manager of JASIF.

The move is seen as a positive note for AIS’ efforts to buy a 19% stake in JASIF, as unitholders of the fund are due to hold a meeting to review the deal on October 18.

Regarding the current loan agreement with BBL, JASIF is to repay loan capital of 1.15 billion baht in 2023, 1.3 billion in 2024, 1.45 billion in 2025, 1.55 billion in 2026, 1.7 billion in 2027, 1.9 billion in 2028, 2.1 billion in 2029 and 2.2 billion in 2030. The minimum lending rate (MLR) has been fixed from 2023 to 2030.

According to the new term offered by BBL, JASIF will repay 50 million baht in 2023, 200 million in 2024, 250 million in 2025, 600 million in 2026, 750 million in 2027, 2 billion in 2028, 2.2 billion in 2029, 2 .2 billion in 2030, 2.4 billion in 2031 and 2.7 billion in 2032. The new term implies MLR-0.5% from 2023 to 2032.

In July, AIS announced plans to buy fixed broadband provider Triple T Broadband (TTTBB) and invest 19% in JASIF in a deal worth a total of 32.4 billion baht. .

JAS, which wholly owns TTTBB, is the largest shareholder of JASIF with a 19% stake.

JASIF owns a fiber optic cable spanning 1.6 million core kilometers, currently leased by TTTBB for its high-speed Internet service under the 3BB brand.

The deal will be carried out by Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), a subsidiary of AIS.

Pornchalit Ploykrachang, deputy managing director of BBLAM, said BBL’s latest offer came after the fund asked BBL to extend the maturity date and reduce interest on the loan agreement in the event of a change in sponsor of JAS to AWN, whose strong financial stability reduces the commercial risk of the fund.

On September 14, BBL told BBLAM that in principle it approved the extension of the repayment date and the reduction of the interest rate, he said.

BBL said the new offering will take place if JASIF’s unitholders approve AWN’s purchase of the investment shares held by JAS and accept amendments to the relevant agreements by the parties involved, Mr. Pornchalit said. In addition, the purchase of TTTBB by AWN must also be finalized.

According to an analysis by Maybank Securities, the longer debt repayment schedule would allow JASIF to reduce annual repayments by 1 billion to 1.2 billion baht from 2023 to 2027.

JASIF’s yield is expected to rise from 8.6% to 10.4% in 2023, the brokerage firm said.

On Monday, AIS announced that it would help TTTBB find a source of funds for an advance payment of 3 billion baht of optical fiber cable (OFC) lease fees to JASIF.

But this will happen if the unitholders of JASIF decide to approve the sale of the shares of JASIF held by JAS to AIS and the modification of the relevant lease agreements between TTTBB and JASIF.

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