THG head stock purchases before questionable Pfizer news

FILE PHOTO: Boon Vanasin, chairman of Thonburi Healthcare Group and his wife are being investigated for questionable stock purchases.

Thailand and Pfizer have had a tricky relationship with frequent announcements and then retractions about whether the vaccine will be approved and imported into the country. The latest was Thonburi Healthcare Group Dr Boon Vanasin announcing they had negotiated 20 million Pfizer vaccines to be brought into Thailand, only to be followed a few hours later by Pfizer-BioNTech responding that they have never had any dealings with THG and no contract had been signed. Now it appears that the seemingly false announcement was made just after the wife of THG head Boon purchased a large amount of stock in the company and is being looked into as possible manipulation or insider trading.

An investigation is being launched by the stock and securities authorities to look into the irregular trading. Between July 2 and July 13, Boon’s wife made 8 transactions and in total bought 950,000 shares of THG stock, paying between 28.50 and 29.50 baht each. Then on July 14, the announcement was made to BBC Thailand that THG is importing 20 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Shares of THG jumped 13% on the news when it became public the next day, which would equate to about 3.5 million baht in profit for Boon’s wife.

The president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand said all trading is monitored for unusual activity with systems in place to flag and report any suspicious transactions or anything that breaks laws. Irregular transactions that are determined to be unlawful are pursued with legal action.

The Security Exchange Commission requires executives who trade shares of their own company’s stock to file a securities and derivatives holding reports. The SEC’s regulator is now working alongside the SET in its investigation of the irregular transactions. The SET collects data about unusual share price movement and then passes it on to the SEC for a thorough review.

THG maintains that the stock purchases are standard real transactions, but if the SET and SEC find evidence of impropriety in Boon’s wife buying up big stock purchases right before influential news went public, it will be prosecuted as insider trading.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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