The Thai liquor tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is to merge all his beverage operations under the Beer Thai company, in order to prepare for an initial public offering, the Bangkok Post reported today.

The Post, which quoted Suvarn Valaisathien, a former deputy commerce minister and now an adviser to Charoen, said that the public listing would be completed by the end of the year. Merrill Lynch Phatra Securities is apparently the financial adviser for the IPO.

About 15% of the total issued shares will be floated, the minimum amount stipulated by the Thai Stock Exchange, which should be valued at about THB40 billion.

The restructuring prior to the IPO will see all alcohol and ethanol production, including the spirits and beer businesses, under Beer Thai. The company's products include Chang Beer, the market leader with a 60% share.