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Nok Air tries new share sale

SET-listed Nok Air will have another go at a capital injection to get its turnaround into the advanced stage.

The budget airline's board on Thursday resolved to stage an additional share offering to existing shareholders with 1.207 billion new shares.

Current shareholders are entitled to subscribe to the new shares at a proportion of 1.50 baht for each of the shares with a par value of one baht.

The rights offering will provide 1.81 billion baht in fresh capital that will augment the 1.22 billion Nok Air amassed in the previous round of share subscriptions in May.

This targeted amount would fulfil Nok Air's original plan to secure 3 billion baht in new capital through new ordinary share issuance.

The new round comes after the refusal of Thai Airways International (THAI) to subscribe to 114 million shares in the previous allotment.

The flag carrier cited the "unclear" turnaround plan and the likelihood of its subscription payment of 588 million baht contributing to THAI's financial woes.

Insiders said THAI sought to replace Nok Air chief executive Patee Sarasin.

Like all shareholders, THAI has the right to subscribe to the new Nok Air shares, though some THAI executives see that as doubtful.

Nok Air's major individual shareholders, businessmen Nuttapol and Thaweechat Jurangkool, told the board on Thursday that they were prepared to take up THAI's subscription if THAI refused, Mr Patee told the Bangkok Post yesterday.

That scenario would see the Jurangkools' shareholding in Nok Air rise to over 50%, Mr Patee said.

"Their confirmation is a vote of confidence in the success of the turnaround plan," he said.

The Jurangkools own a combined 28.9% of Nok Air after the recent rights offering. THAI's shareholding dipped to 21.6% from 39.2%.

Meanwhile, the plan to issue more shares to allow the entry of foreign strategic partners into Nok Air will not happen until next year, Mr Patee said.

"We will then have enough resources to successfully execute the business turnaround," he said.

NOK shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 4.40 baht, down 30 satang, in trade worth 82.2 million baht.

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