THAILAND is opening the door to Lao enterprises seeking to diversify their funding sources with the government’s support for the dual listing of Lao companies on the stock exchanges of both countries, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said on a visit to Vientiane yesterday.
Somkid expressed his support for dual listings after meeting representatives of Lao-based firms including conglomerate AIF Group Co Ltd and Phongsupthavy Group Co Ltd, which are interested in raising funds in Thailand’s capital markets.
He had earlier met Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Somdee Duangdee.
AIF Group is one of the biggest companies in Laos and its most diversified business group, with operations including the supply of energy and water and infrastructure development.
Phongsupthavy Group Co Ltd is engaged in construction and trade, and has an investment arm.
“Both of them are interested in raising capital in Thailand’s capital markets but they have concerns about whether Thailand’s capital markets are open for overseas firms to engage in fund raising,” Somkid said. “I suggest that their concerns can be put to rest by information from the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Securities and Exchange Commission that Thailand’s capital markets are already open to overseas firms for their capital-raising needs and that the market is open for dual listings.”
He added that the Lao government could raise funds for the country’s infrastructure needs by launching an infrastructure fund on the Thai stock exchange.
“We are promoting the option for Laos firm to raise capital under a dual-listings arrangement that will see companies listed in both the Lao and Thai stock markets,” Somkid said. “We also support Laos’ efforts to develop its stock market by setting up training courses for Laos firms on how to raise capital and benefit from being a listed company.”
Somdee acknowledged that Laos needed more capital to develop the country’s infrastructure - including main roads, expressways and the rail system – to enable better links with its neighbours. Improvements would help the country to develop a more efficient logistics system.
“Raising capital from the capital markets is one of the ways open to us for consideration,” he said.