Thailand assures foreign investors

Government signals flexibility on plan to limit foreign ownership of Thai companies.

    The New Year's Eve bombings 
    contributed to investor fears [AFP]


    But, he added: "We cannot entirely cancel the voting rights rule because that is the main principle."
    The proposed laws announced on Tuesday had cast fresh doubts on the government's commitment to attract foreign investment.
    Under the existing law, many foreign investors have used nominee shareholders with limited voting rights to retain control of local companies while staying within limits on shareholding.
    The draft amendment, approved by the Thai cabinet on Tuesday, still needs final approval from the Council of State, an advisory body that checks the constitutionality of the country's legislation, as well as the National Legislative Assembly.
    This process, say analysts, could take months.
    Falling stock
    Thailand’s main stock market dropped 2.7 per cent on Tuesday. And Thai shares fell about 1.3 per cent at Wednesday's opening on heavy selling of energy and telecommunications blue-chips.
    But they recovered some ground to post a midmorning decline of 0.6 per cent at 613.28 points.
    The proposed rule changes follow on the heels of much-criticised capital controls the military government imposed last month to curb the baht's appreciation.
    A string of bombings on New Year's Eve in Bangkok that killed three people also raised investor fears.
    The government has not said why it is pushing the latest measure to limit foreign ownership.
    But the move is widely perceived to be a reaction to the controversial Shin Corp deal in January 2006, in which the family of Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s ousted prime minister, sold a majority stake in the telecommunications company to Singapore's state investment arm.
    Thaksin was ousted in a bloodless coup in September and is living in exile in Beijing.
    The government was installed by coup leaders and is expected to govern until elections scheduled for October.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.