Thai law change unnerves investors

Government approves tighter rules on foreign ownership of companies.

    The foreign business community warned of potentially severe economic fallout from the plan [EPA] 

    Foreign concerns


    The latest proposed rule changes must still go before a team of legal experts for revisions and it is unclear what sectors the new rules will appy to and which will be exempt.


    The foreign business community has warned of potentially severe economic fallout from the plan and urged the government to delay the measures by six months.


    Analysts fear the revised law could force foreign companies to sell off huge amounts of stock to Thai investors, who might not be able to absorb a large number of shares over a short period.


    On Monday, Thailand's Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce and Trade warned that the changes could cause a flood of foreign investors to leave the country.


    The proposed changes come amid efforts by Thailand's post-coup government to discredit the business and political activities of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister ousted by the military in September.


    He is currently living in exile in Beijing.

    Under Thaksin Thailand saw a surge in foreign companies setting up operations in the form of local subsidiaries nominally owned by Thais but controlled by foreigners.


    In January last year Thaksin's family was involved in the controversial sale of a majority stake in the Shin Corp telecommunications company to a Singapore state-owned enterprise.


    The sale drew widespread protests because it placed strategic assets, including communications satellites, in the hands of foreigners, and because the deal was structured so that Thaksin's family did not have to pay capital gains tax.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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