Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi made a S$9 billion (US$7.3 billion) bid for the 70% of drinks and property group Fraser & Neave Ltd he does not control, potentially blocking Heineken NV (HEIA) from buying the Singapore company’s beer unit.
TCC Assets Ltd, linked to Charoen’s Thai Beverage Plc (THBEV), offered S$8.88 a share for F&N (FNH), TCC said in a filing Thursday. The bid is 4.3% more than F&N’s closing price yesterday and values the company at $10.3 billion.
The Thai billionaire could thwart Heineken’s $4.4 billion offer for F&N’s 40% stake in Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (APB) if he succeeds in buying the conglomerate. Charoen is making his bid ahead of a Sept 28 meeting where F&N shareholders will vote on the Dutch company’s proposal.
“The fact that they are making an offer at this stage seems to suggest that they want a bigger say in the vote,” said Goh Han Peng, analyst at DMG & Partners Research Pte in Singapore. “They could scuttle the deal if they want to hold on to APB.”
Fraser & Neave shares were halted for trading in Singapore.
Purchasing F&N would widen Charoen’s influence in Asia and help Thai Beverage diversify overseas. The Thai brewer got 96% of its revenue from its home country in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Thai Beverage is already F&N’s largest shareholder with a 29% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings Co is the second biggest with a 15% stake. Kirin spokesman Jun Sato declined to comment on the Thai offer today. Heineken will review Thai Beverage’s comments “carefully” and comment when appropriate, John Clarke, a spokesman for Heineken, said in an e-mail.
Fraser & Neave got about 30% of its 2011 revenue of S$6.3 billion from its property division, about 12% from soft drinks and 17% from dairies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Charoen’s unlisted business TCC Group has a real estate arm and Thai Beverage sells non-alcoholic drinks in addition to beer and spirits.
Heineken, the world’s third-biggest brewer, in August raised its offer for a controlling stake in APB to S$53 a share from S$50. The Dutch company, which owns part of the brewer, has sought full control as it attempts to protect its hold over a key emerging-markets business and as brewing assets in high- growth economies are in short supply after a decade of consolidation in the industry.
Charoen’s bid is the largest announced by a Thai company in at least 10 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. United Overseas Bank Ltd (UOB), DBS Bank Ltd and Morgan Stanley Asia (Singapore) Pte are advising TCC.