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Beerworkers Archive


Post date: 09/28/2012 - 10:21

Heineken wins control of APB

Heineken has won control of Asia Pacific Breweries, maker of Tiger beer, after shareholders in Fraser and Neave approved the Dutch brewer’s S$5.6bn (US$4.5bn) offer for the Singapore conglomerate’s stakes in the business.

APB has been run by Heineken and F&N since 1931 through an equally held joint venture company and is one of the few remaining brewing businesses available to buy in Asia.

Heineken had been determined to take full control of APB in an effort to expand into higher-growth Asian markets at a time of anaemic sales in Europe.

Heineken has won control of Asia Pacific Breweries, maker of Tiger beer, after shareholders in Fraser and Neave approved the Dutch brewer’s S$5.6bn (US$4.5bn) offer for the Singapore conglomerate’s stakes in the business.

APB has been run by Heineken and F&N since 1931 through an equally held joint venture company and is one of the few remaining brewing businesses available to buy in Asia.

Heineken had been determined to take full control of APB in an effort to expand into higher-growth Asian markets at a time of anaemic sales in Europe.

However, the Dutch brewer was forced into a complex bid battle after billionaire Thai businessman Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi – who controls ThaiBev – amassed enough shares in F&N to become its largest single shareholder, while making an offer for a stake held separately by F&N in APB.

Those tactics threatened to derail Heineken’s attempt to buy out F&N’s share in the APB joint venture, and forced the Dutch company to raise its initial S$50 a share offer to the S$53 a share that F&N shareholders finally accepted.

The vote in favour, by 98 per cent of F&N shareholders, gives Heineken 95.3 per cent of APB, up from a current stake held directly and indirectly of 55.6 per cent.

The deal remains subject to regulatory approvals in Singapore and New Zealand and is expected to close in November, after which APB will be fully consolidated into Heineken’s accounts.

However, F&N’s board will immediately have to grapple with a S$8.88bn takeover offer for the company, documents for which were presented to the F&N board on Thursday by Mr Charoen through TCC Assets, one of his unlisted vehicles.

Mr Charoen is seen by analysts as aiming to expand his drinks and property empire into south-east Asia, where F&N has a leading soft drinks business in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as an extensive property portfolio.

In addition, uncertainty remains over the role of Kirin, the Japanese drinks company, which with 15 per cent is the second-largest shareholder in F&N.

Analysts have said that Kirin is interested in F&N’s soft drinks business. Asked by the Financial Times if that was the case, Mr Kobayashi said: “Strategically [soft drinks] is very important but we have to consider.”

Complicating matters for F&N, its shareholders voted down a planned capital reduction by F&N after Mr Charoen voted against the resolution, preventing it from reaching the required 75 per cent threshold.

F&N proposed the $4bn capital reduction plan as a way of distributing much of the proceeds from the APB sale last month, before TCC’s bid for the full group was made.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/978a44b0-091a-11e2-9176-00144feabdc0.html...
By Jeremy Grant in Singapore