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Thai airport operator says govt has no plan to lower stake in it

[BANGKOK] The finance ministry has no plan to cut its 70 per cent stake in Airports of Thailand because the company's business is related to security and is performing strongly, the country's largest airport operator said.

Airports of Thailand, which runs six main airports in the Southeast Asian nation, has continuously paid dividends to the finance ministry and is working on an expansion plan to meet rising travel demand, chairman Prasong Poontaneat said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Last week, Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said the government planned to sell stakes in companies to raise funds for debt repayment.

While the minister did not name any companies, his comments sent Airports of Thailand shares down by 4 per cent in the past two days, before bouncing back on Wednesday.

The Finance Ministry did not offer an immediate comment when asked by Reuters on Wednesday.

At 0350 GMT, the stock was up 1 per cent, while the broad Thai index was 0.43 per cent lower.

Apart from the airport operator, the finance ministry owns majority stakes in several companies including top energy firm PTT PCL, Thai Airways International, TMB Bank and media firm MCOT PCL.

REUTERS