Ministry of Finance of the Lao PDR successfully completes its debut baht-denominated bond offering in Thailand

Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Thursday May 30, 2013 11:53
Bangkok--30 May--TMB
  • Setting precedent as first foreign sovereign issuer to issue baht-dominated bond in Thailand

The Ministry of Finance of the Lao People's Democratic Republic ("MOFL"), acting as a fund raising entity of the government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (the "Government of the Lao PDR"), has successfully completed its debut THB1.5 billion (approximately US$ 50 million) offering of baht-denominated bonds with maturity of three years and a coupon of 4.50% per annum to Institutional and high net worth investors. The success of this transaction underscores the government of the Lao PDR's strength as an issuer in the increasingly integrated intra-regional capital markets.

MOFL obtained the permission to issue THB1.5 billion baht-denominated bonds by the Ministry of Finance of Thailand in November 2012, becoming the first foreign sovereign issuer to receive such permission. The issuer has also received exemption from credit rating requirement by the Ministry of Finance of Thailand since MOFL is qualified as a foreign governmental agency under the government of the Lao PDR. The proceeds raised from this transaction will be used for MOFL's general purposes in the ordinary courses of its role, for example, to support investment projects of the government of the Lao PDR.

MOFL's Thai baht bonds were well received by investors who during the book building process indicated more than THB4 billion of the order book, more than 2.7 times of the intended issue size. The investor base was highly diversified across the spectrum, including Thai institutional investors, Thai corporations, high net worth investors, and Thai government-related agencies.

This transaction is a landmark, unparalleled transaction in many aspects. From the government of the Lao PDR's perspective, this marked the first time MOFL raised funds from offshore foreign-currency bond markets and the first time for the MOFL raised funds from Thailand's bond market. From Thailand's bond market's perspective, this was the first time that any foreign sovereign issuer and the first time that any non-rated issuer raised funds from the market.

TMB Bank Public Company Limited acted as the Lead Arranger of the transaction, Twin Pine Consulting acted as the Financial Advisor, and LS Horizon Limited acted as the Legal Counsel.

Mme. Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, Director General of External Finance Department of Ministry of Finance of the Lao PDR, on behalf of the Ministry said: "We are pleased with this landmark transaction for a number of reasons. We are also delighted that this transaction is the first foreign sovereign issuer to tap the Thai baht bond market and the transaction process has been seamlessly executed. Most importantly, through this arrangement, we have established ourselves among the Thai investing community and position ourselves well with regard to regional capital market integration as ASEAN countries are advancing toward the goal of ASEAN Economic Community."

Mr. Boontuck Wungcharoen, CEO of TMB, said: "Successfully completed in the volatile market conditions, this transaction has set a remarkable milestone for the advancement of the Thai debt capital markets; it has provided the local investors with a new investment alternative. The government of the Lao PDR's strong credit was well received by the Thai Institutional and high net worth investors and contributed notably to the success of the transaction. The transaction also reflected TMB's commitment towards the development of the region's growth momentum."

Mr. Adisorn Singhsacha, Partner, Managing Director, Twin Pine Consulting Limited, on behalf of the Financial Advisor said: "This transaction marked the first step in the integration of ASEAN capital markets. The government of the Lao PDR has successfully set a benchmark for other ASEAN sovereign issuers looking to raise funds from Thailand's debt capital markets. Thailand has demonstrated the sophistication and depth of its capital market and appetite to be a leading regional market."

Mr. Piti Tantakasem, Chief Wholesale Banking Officer of TMB said: "TMB is ranked third as an arranger for THB bonds offering by foreign Issuers and is ranked first among the Thai banks. The annual coupon rate of 4.5% for the 3-year period of this THB bond is considered a good return and has gained the attention of many investors. There has been an overwhelming response which exceeded our expectation. With the successful transaction this time, it is likely that the government of the Lao PDR may issue more bonds to investors in Thailand in the future.

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