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BANKING

<b>Bonds, brawls and Basil in Bangkok</b>

    Headline: Bonds, brawls and Basil in Bangkok
Source: Euromoney
Date: February 2000




"I'm stuck in traffic" soon won't be the excuse it once was in Bangkok. The Silom Road may still hold you up - and worry you with its well-displayed admissions that pollution levels are higher even than Thailand's recommended doses of lead and carbon monoxide - but the air-conditioned cars of the new Skytrain elevated metro ought to take people off the streets and make the roads clearer.

That said, few stations have escalators to the lofty platforms, and the climb, in definitely non-air-conditioned stairwells, has so far deterred even the most athletic. The train is financially controversial too. CSFB owns 23% of it - it received the shares as collateral after a loan to the project developer went sour. However, difficulties in actually registering the shares to CSFB threatened Thailand's reputation for commitment to reform. A subsequent court ruling has restored that, but the dispute rumbles on. Meanwhile passenger numbers are still below those required for the project to break even.

Perhaps the stress of taking the train contributed to the riots that broke out at a recent government bond auction.







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