BEC World investor sells 5 pct stake

Stock drops as shareholder sells partial shareholdings

BANGKOK -- Shares in BEC World Pcl fell over 6% on Tuesday to their lowest in nearly four weeks after a big shareholder in the Thai TV firm, the Maleenont family, sold about 5% to boost liquidity in the stock.

After the share sale, detailed by joint placing agent Phatra Securities, the family has a combined 51% holding.

"The family is still a major shareholder after the sale. The stake was sold to both local and foreign funds at a price of 34 baht ($1.30) per share," Phatra chief executive Apinant Klewpatinont said.

That discount of 7.5% to the stock's closing price on Monday weighed on the market, causing the price to drop 6.1% to 34.50 baht, the lowest since Sept. 16.

The family sold 111.26 million shares, accounting for 5.56% of BEC World, operator of free-to-air Channel 3, raising 3.78 billion baht), according to stock exchange data.

"The main idea for the sale is that they want to give more chance for investors to own the shares. We did the book-building yesterday after the market closed," Apinant said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch was joint placing agent with Phatra.

Analysts are optimistic about the company's outlook.

"We expect net profit growth of 18% to 3.1 billion baht this year and an 8% increase to 3.3 billion baht for 2011," broker Kim Eng Securities said in a client note.

BEC World is Thailand's largest-listed operator of a television network. It earns 90% of its revenue from advertising.