Is Coca-Cola looking to increase its footprint in Malaysia and Singapore?

Is Coca-Cola looking to increase its footprint in Malaysia and Singapore?

The Coca-Cola Co is considering making a bid for Fraser & Neave's (F&N) soft drinks and dairy unit, according to reports. 

Japanese brewer Kirin is also exploring the possibility of making an offer for the unit, believed to be worth around US$3bn, according to Bloomberg today (2 August). If Coca-Cola successfully bids for the business, it would give the US company the largest share of soft drink sales in Malaysia and Singapore. 

But other sources suggest a play for the soft drinks and dairy business would only be possible if F&N was broken up.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said it will not comment on "rumour and speculation". 

Meanwhile, trading in shares of F&N and its subsidary Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) have today (2 August) been suspended. This comes ahead of tomorrow's deadline, when F&N must respond to Heineken over the Dutch brewer's SGD5.1bn (US$4.07bn) bid to take full control of Tiger brewer, APB, which has been run as a joint-venture between F&N and Heineken since 1931.

However, Heineken is facing potential opposition from ThaiBev. The Chang brewer is attempting a fast-track purchase of a 22% stake in F&N and yesterday obtained a waiver over gaining shareholder approval for the deal. The group has been building up its stake in the Singapore conglomerate and earlier this week raised its share in F&N to 24.1%, based on it completing its 22% stake purchase. ThaiBev said in a filing on Tuesday it wants to be able have a say on Heineken's bid for APB.