Successful bidders seek KBank guarantees [Bangkok Post, Thailand :: ]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 25--Twenty winners of digital-TV licences have asked Kasikornbank (KBank) to issue guarantees worth a combined 100 billion baht, with several of them requesting credit lines for investment in their projects.
Executive vice-president Vasin Vanichvoranun said the 20 winners out of a total of 24 are seeking guarantees, and some need credit lines representing 30-50% of project cost.
KBank plans to extend loans only to existing operators that are experts in the business and can survive the fierce competition, he said.
Because the licence prices were higher than expected, KBank will analyse each winner's financial position prudently.
Last month's auctions for 24 digital-TV channels generated 50.9 billion baht, with winning bids 2.3 times higher the average starting price.
Free TV normally generates revenue from commercial advertising. But the revenue of each operator could decline, as free TV is scheduled to increase to 24 channels after the auction from six channels before.
Digital TV and related businesses such as networks, content and set-top boxes are seen as growth areas in 2014 amid otherwise-sluggish loan demand, Mr Vasin said.
The content provider JSL Global Media has earmarked 200-300 million baht this year for new digital equipment, studios and staff in preparation for the digital-TV business.
International Research Corporation, a systems and software provider, will develop middleware and software for use in digital-TV production by entering the set-top box market.
In KBank's view, other promising business sectors include construction and building materials, energy, telecommunications, automobiles and agriculture, said Mr Vasin.
And while the government's 2-trillion-baht infrastructure plan has been hampered by political uncertainty, the construction and building materials sectors should reap benefits from projects in neighbouring countries.
New project investments for power plants, petrochemicals and modern trade will also boost the construction industry's top line.
KBank, Thailand's fourth-biggest lender by assets, expects loan growth of 9% this year, assuming gross domestic product growth within a range of 2.2% to 3.7%.
(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
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