EGAT share sale halted

16 November 2005 – A court in Thailand has intervened to prevent the government proceeding with the $855m IPO of state-run power monopoly EGAT. A five-member panel at the Administrative Court following objections from a coalition of anti-privatization groups granted the injunction.

The government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra planned to sell 16 per cent of EGAT but opponents claim that the partial privatization would benefit mainly small groups of politically connected investors and hurt consumers as tariffs would have to rise to boost profits to attract investors.

The court has yet to set a date to hear the case but the injunction means further delay to the IPO that had originally been planned for prior to the last elections in February.

The government had hoped to raise the market capitalization of the Thai bourse to 7 trillion baht ($171 bn) this year from 4.75 trillion baht now, mainly through partial privatizations of state firms, analysts said.