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ASIA: ThaiBev agrees to buy 22% stake in Fraser and Neave

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ThaiBev has agreed to buy a 22% stake in Singapore conglomerate Fraser & Neave (F&N) for SGD2.78bn (US$2.21bn), the company has announced. 

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In a filing to the Singapore Stock Exchange yesterday (18 July), the Chang brewer said it had reached agreements with Oversea-Banking Chinese Corps (OCBC), Great Eastern Holdings and Lee Rubber Company to buy their stake in the firm. It represents a total of 313,036,775 shares at SGD8.88 each. 

In a separate filing, OCBC announced it has agreed to sell its 3.4% stake in Tiger brewer Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), a subsidiary of F&N and a joint-venuture Heineken, to Kindest Place Groups, owned by Chotiphat Bijananda, the son-in-law of ThaiBev's owner Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. OCBC is also selling its 3.2% stake in F&N. 

Great Eastern Holdings, an OCBC subsidiary, is also selling its 4.6% stake in APB to Kindest Place Groups, as part of the deal, and its 14.9% share in F&N to ThaiBev. 

The transactions are subject to approval from ThaivBev and OCBC shareholders. 

ThaiBev's filing stated: "The proposed investment immediately diversifies the company geographically and is highly complementary to the company's existing single-market focus." 

News of a possible deal broke earlier this week. However analysts warned that APB could be broken up if another brewer gains a stake, while Heineken said it was "considering its options". 


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