The founder of both Thai Petrochemical Industry PCL and TPI Polene PCL, Prachai Leophairatana, asked the Ministry of Finance Monday for permission to buy stakes in the two debt-ridden companies. Thailand’s Bankruptcy Court earlier this month approved an amendment to the US$2.95bn debt restructuring plan of TPI, paving the way for the resumption of the long-delayed rehabilitation of the country’s largest debt defaulter and the sale of a stake to strategic partners.
As part of the plan, the company will raise some $650m from the sale of about 18 billion TPI shares to a strategic investor as well as another US$250m from the divestment of 249 million shares that TPI holds in cement maker TPI Polene.
Prachai, who maintains the title of TPI’s chief executive but has no active role in the company, and is one of the board’s directors, said in a statement that he wants the right to buy the stakes being offered in TPI and TPI Polene, or find himself investors to buy the stakes. He requested that the ministry responds to him within 15 days.
The Finance Ministry, which is supervising TPI’s debt restructuring, has said it won’t block Prachai from buying a stake in the companies if he can afford it, but has indicated that it would like state-controlled oil and gas conglomerate PTT PCL to become a strategic investor and undertake TPI’s management after its rehabilitation.