TSE head plans road show to restore confidence
Sunday, June 13, 2010

BANGKOK: Thailand’s stock exchange is on track to be demutualised and become a listed company by 2012, its new chief said, adding the bourse planned an overseas roads how next month to try to win back foreign investor confidence.

“The listing plan is on track. We have a working committee who are making sure that the listing will be as planned,” newly appointed President Charamporn Jotikasthira told a press briefing after starting his job, becoming the bourse’s 11th president, on June 1.

“My prime mission is to make the bourse a bigger cake and this will be done through developing the capital market. We want more people to come and eat our cake,” the 53-year-old chief said.

Charamporn, formerly a senior executive vice-president at Siam Commercial Bank, the country’s third-biggest lender, took over from Patareeya Benjapholchai. Average trading volume and the market capitalisation of the Thai stock market should jump over the next four years, Charamporn said.

“Everything should increase in terms of profit, revenues, transactions as well as market capitalisation,” he said. Average daily turnover in 2009 stood at 20.9 billion baht, according to exchange data.

He said the bourse had kept its target of initial public offerings worth 100 billion baht ($3.1 billion) by the end of this year. Patareeya said late last month 90 billion baht had already been raised.

Foreign fund inflows should return to the Thai market because of its relatively attractive valuations, and some investors worried about European debt woes might prefer to put their money into Asia, including Thailand, he said.

According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, Thailand is trading at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 9.9, compared with Indonesia’s 13 and Malaysia’s 10.9. The Philippine market’s PE ratio is 9.7, Vietnam’s 9.5 and Singapore’s 8.5.

On Friday, foreign investors bought Thai shares worth a net 1.06 billion baht ($32.6 million), reducing their net selling this year to 19.5 billion baht. Foreign investors hold 37 percent of the shares on the 6 trillion baht ($184 billion) bourse.

The exchange would hold an investment roadshow in Britain in July in a bid to restore investor confidence after the worst political violence in modern Thai history, which has dented economic growth and hurt tourism.

The benchmark SET Index has gained three percent this year, making it the region’s third-best-performing bourse after Indonesia and the Philippines. Last year, it leapt 63 percent, its best performance since 2003.

Charamporn’s experience and track record in Thai money and capital markets should help develop bourse operations and strategies, analysts said. He has an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in the United States.