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Billionaire Gauges Demand for What May Be Thailand’s Largest IPO in 2019

Julia Fioretti and Anuchit Nguyen

(Bloomberg) -- Asset World Corp. will start gauging foreign investor demand for what could be one of Thailand’s biggest initial public offerings this year after the nation’s securities regulator approved the sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

The property arm of billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the nation’s richest person, will meet investors in Singapore this week after kicking off with potential Thai investors on Aug. 23, said the people, who asked not to be identified. The developer of hotels, shopping malls and office buildings aims to raise $1 billion to $1.5 billion, they said.

With such a fundraising target, Asset World would be the biggest IPO in Thailand since Thailand Future Fund’s $1.4 billion IPO last year. The company’s new share sale will help finance its business expansion, particularly the construction of new hotels, it said in June.

Details of the share sale including timeline and fundraising size could still change, the people said. Asset World’s Chief Executive Officer Wallapa Traisorat couldn’t be reached for comment after calls to her office. And an external representative for Asset World didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Thailand’s largest IPO on record was that of BTS Rail Mass Transit Growth Infrastructure Fund, which raised $2.1 billion in 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Companies have raised $720 million in Thai IPOs this year, up from the $406 million raised in the same period last year. The planned share sales by Asset World and Central Group could make 2019 a busy year for IPOs in Thailand, with political risk eased after a March national election.

Read: Thailand Set for Bumper Year of Billion-Dollar IPOs

The Securities & Exchange Commission approved Asset World’s IPO on Aug. 23, more than two months after it submitted the application, according to the regulator’s website. Charoen’s net worth is valued at $17.6 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

To contact the reporters on this story: Julia Fioretti in Hong Kong at jfioretti4@bloomberg.net;Anuchit Nguyen in Bangkok at anguyen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sunil Jagtiani at sjagtiani@bloomberg.net, Margo Towie, Lianting Tu

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