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THAI Eyes Early Stock Market Return This Year


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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has directed the Finance Ministry to fast-track the rehabilitation plan for Thai Airways International Plc (THAI), aiming for the national carrier to be relisted on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) by the year's end, a ministry insider revealed.


Originally scheduled for a stock market return in April or May next year, THAI’s timeline has been accelerated due to its recent positive performances, noted Prime Minister Srettha.


"THAI has shown promising results, thanks to profits from asset sales and robust business outcomes," he stated.


The airline has seen a resurgence boosted by increasing tourist numbers, enhanced export volumes, extensive layoffs, and salary restructuring efforts, which have significantly reduced its operational costs.


"Re-entering the SET early will inject vitality into the Thai stock market. Additionally, the government prefers THAI to be overseen by a new board of directors rather than the current rehabilitation management committee. This shift would provide the airline with greater operational flexibility," remarked a ministry spokesperson.



The Finance Ministry, which owns nearly 48% of THAI, plans to reduce its shareholding to 40%. This move would reclassify the airline from a state enterprise, freeing it from restrictive regulations and boosting its competitiveness in the fiercely competitive aviation sector.


In the first quarter of this year, THAI reported a total revenue of 45.8 billion baht, marking a 17.8% increase from the previous year's 38.9 billion baht, with a net profit of 2.5 billion baht.


However, the airline’s operating profit fell by nearly 79% to 11.1 billion baht, primarily due to exchange rate losses and aircraft impairment. Like many airlines, THAI has faced severe challenges during the pandemic, with debts ballooning to 200 billion baht by September 2020.


The Central Bankruptcy Court approved a recovery plan in September 2020, following global travel restrictions that left most of its fleet grounded.



-- 2024-05-24


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