BANGKOK: Thailand intends to set up a second infrastructure fund worth as much as 50 billion baht (US$1.5 billion) in early 2019, following the launch of the long-delayed Thailand Future Fund this September to finance road building.
The fund due this year, expected to have assets of about 45 billion baht, is likely to attract strong demand from the public given it offers potential annual returns of about 5%, Prapas Kong-led, director general of the State Enterprise Policy Office, said in an interview.
“The Thailand Future Fund is a key tool for the government to raise funds for infrastructure projects without adding to public debt,” Prapas said in his office in Bangkok on Tuesday.
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The Future Fund was due for an initial public offering by March last year under an earlier timeline. The project is one element of the Thai military government’s ambitious infrastructure agenda to bolster economic expansion. The pace of project implementation is a key challenge.
Earlier this year, the fund became embroiled in a court dispute over costs, but that spat was addressed in May, according to Prapas. The fund planned for next year will also finance highway construction, he said.
Thailand’s 19-member SET Construction Services Index had declined about 29% over the past year, despite the government’s focus on infrastructure, in a sign that investors are awaiting an uptick in implementation.